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 reports state that it would have been many more if Arthur had not been playing.

World 100yd record holder plays in goal at Anfield

Remember at the time, Arthur was the World’s Official ‘Fastest Man on the Planet’, after running the 100yds in 10 seconds dead, at the home of Chelsea Football Club (Stamford Bridge, London) in 1886.

Fast Forward nearly 129 years (to the day) to Saturday 28th August 2021 and Liverpool FC are playing Chelsea FC in the Premier League. Two teams that Arthur never played for, but both of whom he has historically poignant connections to. Imagine if this was Liverpool’s first ever game, the equivalent would have been Usain Bolt playing in goal for Chelsea!

Standing on the Kop

Having supported Liverpool since the early 1980’s and a regular visitor to Anfield, it was an enormous pleasure of mine to be able to invite Shaun to the game on Saturday and give him his first ever Anfield experience. Watching the game from the Kop in our Arthur Wharton Foundation t-shirts, was a very special experience for both of us. Although the game finished 1-1, we had a fantastic day in Liverpool.

Liverpool Legend – Alex Smailes

People do ask me quite often how a lad from Darlington ends up supporting Liverpool Football Club….? It’s a fair question and one that I always reply with two words….Alex Smailes. For over 35 years, Alex was a scout for Liverpool FC in the North East, travelling the length and breadth of the country watching football. He also worked alongside my dad for the housebuilder Wimpey Homes on sites all over the north-east. Many a Monday night my dad would bring home a programme that Alex had picked up for me. Still to this day, I have no idea how he combined the two jobs!

Ex Liverpool Scout Alex Smailes holding the Arthur Wharton marquette
Alex Smailes at the Arthur Wharton Foundation – October 2020

Through Alex and his connections at Liverpool Football Club, that we were able to get Chris McLoughlin to write an amazing article on Arthur Wharton. The article was published in the club’s Official magazine in December 2020. Massive thanks to Alex for helping us get this arranged. You can access the article here

Hopefully one day the Foundation will be able to arrange a huge celebration of Arthur’s involvement in that historic game at Anfield. What a marvellous sight it would be, to see a flag being waved on the Kop with Arthur’s name on it.

Arthur Wharton Foundation Celebration

Blog post by Shaun Campbell (5 minute read) – Saturday 3rd July 2021

Arthur Wharton World Record

Today marks the 135th anniversary of a remarkable day in history.

On 3rd July, 1886, Arthur Wharton became the worlds first official fastest man on the planet. The 100 yard World Record was set which stood for over 30 years.

The Arthur Wharton Foundation Celebration Video is in commemoration of that historic day.

The video is introduced by way of a short video to the first verse of ‘Song for Arthur’, written by James ‘Jimmy Blue’ Emmerson, from Darlington.

Produced by yours truly, sung by the great Ruby Turner MBE and accompanied by Jazz Pianist Dean Stockdale (also from Darlington), the music and lyrics are set against the back drop of the filming of the now iconic Mural of Arthur Wharton in Darlington.  This video production was kindly put together for us, by our friends and allies, at BT Sport.

So Remember The Name:   “ARTHUR WHARTON”

World Record at Stamford Bridge

Competing under the banner of Darlington Cricket Club, Arthur travelled to Stamford Bridge, London (now historic home to Chelsea Football Club) to compete in the AAA National Championships. He won his 100yds heat by six yards and only half an hour later, in front of 2000 people, lined up for the final.

He won by a yard from Charles Wood who was half a yard in front of Frank Richie. By reaching the tape first the Arthur Wharton secured the Prince Hassan Cup worth £50, first presented in 1871. Arthur’s winning time of 10 seconds made him the talking point of the day. Incredible that this time had been achieved in BOTH heat and final – on the same afternoon – added further stature to this speed phenomenon.

A contemporary report helps us capture what was seen as an exotic and fantastic occasion on account of Arthur’s participation. Although it self-consciously respects Arthur’s “otherness” it at the same time illustrates the growing (and sadly continuing) habit of assuming different physiological attributes in people of colour.

Wharton is a gentleman from very sunny climes, and by no means a representative Englishman in appearance. If not a champion to look at, he is an extremely good one to go, and his colonial exhibition is very fine … he has a long, low stride, he does not seem to get on his toes in the style to which we are accustomed. I make some allowance for optical illusion, because on Saturday he wore untanned or unblacked [shoes] … of a brown some shades lighter than his complexion. These arrangements in colour caused the observer who was not very sharp to believe that the man was running barefoot, whereas he had merely fitted himself with nearly flesh-coloured pumps … His style of running is associated with men of colour, who as a rule have a good deal of heel. Wharton is a brunette of pronounced complexion …

source: Darlington and Stockton Times, 17th July 1886

Arthur Wharton - black and white photo
Arthur Wharton – Fastest man in the World

The Prince Hassan Pacha Cup

For a number of years this revered, now iconic trophy remained hidden in the basement of an athletics official. I remember the very day when I found that historic Prince Hassan Pacha Cup which Arthur won in 1886, and again in 1887. It was a ‘hallelujah’ moment. It was deeply touching on an emotional level…because it also brought me personally closer to the great man himself.

It was a great find of an incredibly important piece of sporting history, not just for the Foundation, but also for England Athletics, the AAA and the IAAF. 

In partnership with the Foundation, England Athletics announced this great find at their annual Hall of Fame Awards 2015, and invited me to speak on this very poignant, and significant occasion. There, behind me, on stage, was the very cup itself.

Historic winners followed Arthur

Emblazoned upon it, alongside Arthur’s name, were the names of all of those that had won it since, including; Linford Christie, Don Quarry, Alan Wells, Reggie Walker, Harold Abrams and Eric Liddle  (the latter two of the film Chariots of Fire) – distinguished company indeed!

To find out more about all of those historic winners of the AAA and National Championship Medallists, in the 100 yards / 100 metres, you can visit National Union of Track Statisticians or this great article Arthur Wharton: First and fastest – written by Chris Lloyd, Northern Echo.

Usain Bolt connects to Arthur Wharton

In 2019, I had the great honour to connect Usain Bolt to this historic trophy, in a meeting at Chelsea Harbour Hotel, London. To see Usain Bolt holding the very same trophy that Arthur Wharton held, was a very special moment. Connecting the current 100m/200m World Record holder (Usain) and the first 100yd World Record holder (Arthur), through the trophy, is another example of the Foundation’s motto….“Connect the Present, to the Past, for the Future”.

Usain Bolt and Shaun Campbell – Arthur Wharton #1

Enjoyed this post?

Please keep an eye out for more blog posts about Arthur Wharton and do let us know what you think. Also, if you are feeling charitable, please do visit our Just Giving page to donate to our building renovation appeal fund. Any donation would be greatly appreciated.

arthur wharton – MUSIC #1

Arthur Wharton

Blog post by Danny Howes – Saturday 12th December 2020

We have a special treat for you, on what has been a memorable day spent commemorating the 90th Anniversary of Arthur Wharton’s death in 1930.

A Musical Film: featuring ‘Arthur Wharton #1’s’ from a number of celebrated people from the music industry, including; Gregory Porter, Trevor Nelson, DJ Spoony, Ruby Turner, Eric Bibb, Christian Varela, Fekky, Firmz….and more!

Lyrics were written by James (‘Jimmy Blue’) Emmerson. Music by Steve Cropper (Booker T & The MG’s). Film produced by Robert Reeves.

The Arthur Wharton Foundation would like to thank everyone for their incredible contributions in making this amazing film. Shaun has played this music track to me so many times down at the Foundation, and to see this film for the first time today was very special indeed. We hope you enjoy it. We love it.

If watching this film makes you as happy as it makes both Shaun and I, how about visiting our new Just Giving campaign page that we have just launched, for much needed building refurbishment funds? Any donation would be gratefully received and help us with the many things that need attention, down at the Foundation in Darlington.

So turn up the volume, have a little boogie and even make a donation? Enjoy.

Arthur Wharton #1

Shaun Campbell meets Usain Bolt to share Arthur Wharton’s story

Usain Bolt with Shaun Campbell

Shaun Campbell, who campaigned to raise the profile of the world’s first black professional footballer, has ‘linked’ history with an invitation from Usain Bolt.  

Mr Campbell set up the Arthur Wharton Foundation and campaigned to honour Wharton with a 16ft bronze statue at St George’s Park, in Burton-Upon-Trent.  

Mr Campbell said the meeting with Bolt, who is widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time, had been years in the making. 

Mr Campbell said: “I have been wanting to meet Usain because he is the world record holder and champion and so was Arthur Wharton, who ran for Darlington.”  

Wharton was born in 1865 in Ghana and started as an amateur playing for Darlington FC.  

Mr Campbell said: “When Usain Bolt had a stint as a professional footballer, he had a synergy with Arthur – they shared a similar history. 

“I was able to tell him the full story of Arthur and Bolt absolutely got it. Being able to expand Arthur’s story and the campaign, it was all about ‘achieving in the face of adversity’.” 

Bolt held the very trophy cup that was awarded to Arthur Wharton during the meeting at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel in London.