Some time ago James Hamilton mused on the rise of the friendly clubs - clubs like: Watford, Luton and Norwich - in the 1980s. I wonder if one of the reasons for their rise was their willingness to field black players. Norwich had Justin Fashanu, Luton Brian Stein and Watford Luther Blissett and John Barnes (and Worrell Stirling if you’re a real aficionado). We shouldn’t forget in all this Ron Atkinson’s West Brom which fielded three black players at the same time, way before anyone else. I am struggling to think when the big clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal followed suit. Late Eighties I would guess.
I was reminded of this today reading about the anniversary of the death of Jimi Hendrix. Here we have an American who first made it big in Britain. Apparently, according to one commenter he even adopted some British English aphorisms. I say “reminded” but on further reflection it occurs to me that there is no obvious connection (at least, not obvious to me) between the phenomenon of small teams being more open to black football players and Britain being more open to black guitar players.
Still, it's better than standing on the ground I suppose.