10 June 2021

Arthur Wharton (Preston North End)

By Tolga Genç

The FA Cup started in England in 1872 and the Football League in 1888. I also mentioned champions and other clubs in these organizations until 1891. The first goalkeeper I touched on from these distant times was Preston North End’s goalkeeper, James Trainer. Our second baseman is Arthur Wharton, the first black goalkeeper among the whites. He is also the first black professional player.

Arthur Wharton was born in 1865 on the Gold Coast (now Accra) in Ghana. His father was from Grenada in the Caribbean, and his mother was from a noble family in Ghana. Arthur Wharton went to England at the age of 19 to become a methodist missionary but became an athlete who broke the amateur world record with 10 seconds at 100 yards. He also played on cricket teams, so he was a complete athlete. Wharton, who is also interested in football, started to work as an amateur goalkeeper in Darlington in 1885. Preston North End executives who followed him transferred in 1886 and played for two seasons; The FA Cup saw the semi-finals. He left the football fields for a while and devoted himself to running. For this reason, in the league’s first season, there was James Trainer from Wales in the goal of champion Preston North End.

Source: The Northern Echo

A year later, Wharton signed a professional contract with Rothertam Town and played for five seasons. He moved to Sheffield United in 1894, but he had to share the goalpost with then-young William ‘Fatty’ Foulke, who left after one season. Trainer left football in Stockport County in 1902 after playing for teams such as Stalybridge Rovers and Ashton North End. After quitting football, he got a hauling job at a colliery in Yorkshire and started working there.

Wharton continued playing cricket and running after he retired from football. Honored for his contributions to football years later, this important person in the history of football (sports) was elected to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2003. For Arthur Wharton, honored with a statuette by FIFA in 2012, a statue was placed in his honor at St George’s Park National Football Center in 2014. He opened up for himself and those who came after him in the world of whites as a black was a big factor in all of this. He was a person who actively fought for this.