Ex-West Brom and Real Madrid star was first black player to wear an England shirt
28 January ~ A crowd-funding campaign has been launched to produce the first biography of Laurie Cunningham. The former West Brom and Leyton Orient star was the first black player to wear an England shirt, when he was picked for the Under-21s in 1977. After scoring the winning goal in that game, he commented: “First and foremost I’m looking for respect from fellow players, if I can get through this maybe it will lead to others getting a fair chance.”
Cunningham was also the first Englishman to sign for Real Madrid, where he won the league and cup as well as playing the the 1981 European Cup final. Cunningham was born to Jamaican parents and grew up in north London, where he became a leading light in the area’s soul dance scene. He died in a car crash in July 1989 on the outskirts of Madrid, aged 33.
Dermot Kavanagh, the sports picture editor of the Sunday Times, has curated two exhibitions on Cunningham. You can support Different Class here.