Football

Walter Tull: Black footballing pioneer

Updated 4:54 PM ET, Sat October 27, 2012
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Walter Tull became the first black outfield player to play in the English top flight when he signed for Tottenham Hotspur in 1909. Tull was the subject of racist abuse, with one particular match against Bristol City leading to Tottenham selling him to Northampton Town. Getty Images
Tull had joined Spurs -- he is pictured here with his Spurs teammates sitting in the front row to the very right -- after helping Clapton F.C. win the Amateur Cup, London Senior Cup and London County Amateur Cup. He made his debut for Spurs at the age of 21.
The First World War broke out in 1914, with Tull signing up to the 17th Service Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, otherwise known as The Football Battalion. He became the first black officer to lead troops into battle, although he was never officially recognized. Tull was fatally wounded by machine gun fire in the French town of Favreuil in 1918. Getty Images
A play telling Tull's story is set for a run at Bolton's Octagon theatre, beginning on February 21. Nathan Ives-Moiba (left) will play Tull and he is pictured here with the Octagon's artistic director David Thacker (right). The pair are pictured alongside former footballer Fabrice Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch while playing for Bolton Wanderers earlier this year. Bolton Wanderers Football Club
Parallels have been drawn between Tull's plight and that of Danny Rose, who claimed he was subjected to racist abuse during an England Under-21 match in Serbia last week. European football's governing body UEFA are investigating the matter. Getty Images
Rose claims he was subjected to monkey chants before, during and after the match against Serbia and had stones thrown at him by the crowd in Krusevac. Fans also ran on to the pitch and scuffles broke out after a 1-0 win secured England qualification for Euro 2013. Getty Images
Last weekend Reading's Grenadian striker Jason Roberts, who has played in England for the last 15 years, was one of a number of black players who refused to wear the Kick It Out T-shirt in protest at what he perceives to be the campaign group's lack of action in combating racism in football. Getty Images
Rio Ferdinand was another player who opted not to wear the Kick It Out T-shirt. The Manchester United defender is reportedly involved in talks to set up a separate black footballers' association. Getty Images
Andrew Watson is another pioneering black footballer. In 1881 he became the first black international player when he represented Scotland in a match with England. Scottish Football Museum