Darlington FC featuring Arthur Wharton

Arthur Wharton – The world’s first black professional footballer

Arthur Wharton was born in Ghana in 1865. In 1883, he moved to Darlington, England where he began his amazing sporting career.

Arthur became the first black professional footballer, the first official fastest man, a professional cricketer and a rugby player. 

Arthur Wharton painting in colour

Arthur Wharton Foundation

The Arthur Wharton Foundation was created to celebrate the life and achievements of a true national and international sporting pioneer.

We do this through education and events aimed at promoting equality and diversity to change the hearts and minds of a generation.


Celebrating Women’s Footballing Trailblazers

Celebrating Women’s Footballing Trailblazers The Arthur Wharton Foundation is proud to announce our new celebration mural. The ‘Celebrating Women’s Footballing Trailblazers’ mural includes figures involved in football from the present and the past, which links into our motto: “Connecting the Present, to the Past, for the Future”. With the Women’s Euros being held in England…

James Charlton (1995-2022)

Blog post by Shaun Campbell (3 minute read) Remembering James Charlton On Wednesday 16th February 2022, I attended the funeral at St Augustine’s Church, Darlington, of James Charlton, who passed away aged only 26. James was a pillar of the community, and for one so young, that says a lot! I was also honoured to…

Clickety Clickety Click

Historic Turnstile Saved The ‘Clickety Clickety Click’ of a turnstile was (and still is) a sound that many football fans around the world have etched in their footballing memories. This unique sound created from the mechanical workings of the turnstile only added to the nervous pre-match suspense. I have many a fond memory of queuing…

Sheila Leeson (1931-2021)

Blog post by Shaun Campbell (5 minute read) A day of celebration and remembrance Sheila Leeson (1931-2021). A poignant day today as I head to Rotherham for the funeral of our Patron, Sheila Leeson. Remembrance Day, from this day forward, will have an added significance for us all at the Foundation. I can remember when…

Historic day at Anfield

Blog post by Danny Howes (10 minute read) On Thursday 1st September 1892, Liverpool Football Club played their first game at Anfield against Rotherham Town. Lining up in goal that day for Rotherham Town, was none other than Arthur Wharton! Although Rotherham Town were reigning Midland League champions, Liverpool won the friendly match 7-1. Match…

Partners of Arthur Wharton Foundation

Partners of Arthur Wharton Foundation