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Arthur Wharton

Arthur Wharton was a Gold Coast-born mixed race British football player. He is widely considered to be the first black professional footballer in the world.

Move to England and Sporting Beginnings

At 19, Wharton moved to England to train as a Methodist missionary but shifted focus to athletics, showcasing talent in sprinting and football.

Athletic Achievements

In 1886, Wharton equaled the amateur world record for the 100-yard sprint and excelled as a cricketer and cyclist.

Football Career Beginnings

Transitioning from amateur to professional football, Wharton joined Darlington as a goalkeeper and later attracted attention from Preston North End.

Preston North End Era

Wharton joined Preston North End, contributing to their FA Cup semi-final appearance but departed to pursue running interests, missing out on their subsequent Double win.

Challenges at Sheffield Wednesday

Wharton faced criticism during a match for Sheffield Wednesday, returning to professional football with Rotherham Town in 1889.

Top Flight Football

Wharton played for Sheffield United in the top division, making history as the first mixed-heritage player in the First Division.

Later Years and Legacy

Wharton retired in 1902, facing personal challenges and working as a colliery haulage worker until his death in 1930.

Recognition and Memorials

Wharton's achievements were posthumously celebrated, with a headstone placed on his grave in 1997 and subsequent inductions into the English Football Hall of Fame. Memorials, including statues and murals, continue to honor his groundbreaking contributions to football history.