The Paul Canoville Foundation celebrated Black History Month 2018 at the Under the Bridge Club, Stamford Bridge Stadium. Entitled Black and Blue Legends, the event was MC’d by our supporter Gary Stannett MBE and co-hosted by comedian Omid Djalili. The event was supported by the FA and the Professional Footballers Association.
Black and Blue Legends highlighted the significant contribution of black players to the Chelsea FC cause over the years, and also marked the re-launch of the Paul Canoville Foundation following Pauls illness last year, and so provided a great opportunity to showcase our work to supporters old and new as we look to extend our reach in 2019.
An invited audience of 150 supporters, sporting organisations, politicians and community activists joined Paul and other pivotal black players from Chelsea FC over the last 35 years – including Ken Monkou, Paul Elliot CBE, Eddie Newton, Andy Myers and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – to discuss a range of topics including changing attitudes in football grounds, the lack of opportunities for black coaches and managers and their own illustrious careers at Stamford Bridge and beyond as well as our own work and ambitions, showcased by Gary at the start of proceedings.
Discussion also focused on the work of the Paul Canoville Foundation and Pauls own commitment to supporting young people to overcome problems and develop life skills to secure a positive future. Drawing on his own life experiences Paul will be visiting schools, delivering workshops and coaching sessions and training young people to become mentors in their own community.
Paul Canoville commented on the night:
‘I want to thank everybody that supported the Black and Blue Legends event at Under the Bridge – my fellow ex-players, sponsors and supporter. It was important that we marked the contribution of black players here at the Bridge and how they have changed attitudes over the year and Black History Month is the perfect time to do it. The support was overwhelming and has given me a massive lift in pursuing the work of my Foundation.’
Event co-host Gary Stannett MBE added:
‘The Black and Blue event was a huge success, possibly the best Black History Month event I have ever seen at a football club. The discussions showed how far football has come since Paul made his debut, but in discussions on coaching and managerial opportunities for black coaches also highlighted how far it has go. Initiatives like the Paul Canoville Foundation however do show how football can be force for bringing people together. A very thought provoking as well as entertaining evening.’
We would like to thank all the guests, sponsors and staff who volunteered their time and services for free to support us on this occasion.