‘They used to say black lads couldn’t play in the cold weather.’
These are the words of Viv Anderson the first black footballer to play for England. This is the shirt he wore on his debut in 1978 at Wembley against Czechoslovakia. England won 1-0. Anderson went on to play for his country 30 times.
Black footballers in the 1970s and 1980s often endured racist chants and abuse from the football terraces. Despite progress, racism continues to this day in matches all around Europe. The racist abuse received by the England under 21s whilst playing in Serbia in 2012 being a good example.
‘Yes it’s a football shirt but it actually tells a story of how people in general were starting to react to black workers and footballers succeeding right across the community at a time of a big cultural shift.’ Viv Anderson.
Since that famous match, the football shirt has been lying in boxes, hung on the wall and most recently stored in Anderson’s garage, until it was loaned to the museum in 2011 for display in our main galleries.
Viv Anderson spent much of his playing career at Nottingham Forest under the management of Brian Clough. He also played for Manchester United between 1987 and 1991 and was Alex Ferguson’s first signing at the club. He also played for Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday.
In this video you can hear his memories of the historic game.
Sent out approximately every two months.