Chelsea Football Club launched our Black History Month celebrations on Saturday October 6th with an event in partnership with the Polka children's theatre in Wimbledon.
Paul 'King' Canoville, Chelsea's first black debutant, met over 200 children and their families at this special post-show event and talked about the challenges he faced on the pitch during his career at Chelsea FC.
Working alongside Chelsea FC's education department during the coming month, Canoville will meet over 1,000 school children and their families telling his inspirational story that never fails to have an impact on the lives of those he speaks to.
'Canoville is always a great hit with the young people he meets. We will be visiting schools and libraries during October to use Paul's story to promote the anti-racism message and to inform and educate young people about changes in football and in society,' said Chelsea's education officer, Wendy Buddin.
Canoville gave his talk after the performance of There's Only One Wayne Mathews that included actors Darren Hart and Ashley Chin playing over 20 characters between them.
The play, which is set in the 1970s, was written by one of the UK's leading playwrights, Roy Williams, and is the story of two youngsters. One is a talented footballer who is discovered by Chelsea scouts while the other can only dream of becoming a professional player. Consequently the production tackles issues of identity and ambition in a humorous and entertaining way.
The event was a great success with children and parents alike and was a great way to launch our Black History Month activities and get our message across to a family audience.
Football's national anti-racism campaign Kick it Out week also takes place during October and the Club will support and host a number of high-profile activities aimed at promoting this important message.