Arthur Wharton

(1865—1930) sportsman

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(1865–1930). The first black British footballer in the Football League. Wharton was born in Jamestown, Accra, Gold Coast (present-day Ghana), to a half-Grenadian and half-Scottish father and a Ghanaian mother. Always a gifted sportsman, he set the first world record in 1886 for the 100-yards dash during the Amateur Athletics Association sprint. Apart from football, he was also involved in other sports such as cricket and cycling. Wharton signed up with Preston North End in 1886 as goalkeeper after being spotted while playing for Darlington. While at Preston North End, he played in the FA Cup semi-finals, one of the high points of his career. Subsequently, he played professionally for various football clubs such as Rotherham Town, Sheffield United, Stalybridge Celtic, and Ashton North End. At Sheffield United he played three games for the club's first team. Despite his strength as a goalkeeper, he could not maintain his position as United simultaneously signed a hefty 19-year-old called William ‘Fatty’ Foulke, whose might surpassed that of Wharton's. Consequently, he only played three games, against Leicester Fosse, Linfield of Belfast, and Sunderland. He retired from football in 1902.


From The Oxford Companion to Black British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.

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