Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Black Victorians - Arthur Wharton, footballer
What a magnificent moustache! Here's Arthur Wharton, the first black professional footballer in England. He played for Darlington, was spotted by Preston North End, left them to concentrate on running, and returned to football with Rotherham. Then he moved to Sheffield United as a goalkeeper, followed by Ashton North End, Stalybridge Rovers, and Stockport.
He died in poverty in 1930, having become a collier after he retired from football.
He was born in Jamestown, on the Gold Coast, the son of a Grenadian, Henry Wharton, and Annie Florence Egyriba, a member of the Ghanaian royal family. He came to England at the age of nineteen to study to become a Methodist missionary, but turned to athletics instead. A year after he married Emma Lister, in 1890, he was the landlord of the Albert Tavern in Rotherham, but went back into football in 1894.