I actually heard my pharmacy song at a pharmacy yesterday.
Ramble of the Day
Tottenham shared a video yesterday as part of ITV’s Alison Hammond: Back to School, an hour-long documentary where Hammond teachers herself about Black British history. One of the people she profiles is Walter Tull, the first Black soldier to lead white soldiers in the British army, and the first biracial footballer in England. As I’m sure a bunch of you know, he played for Spurs from 1909 to 1911. ITV and the club shared a clip from the program, basically the only not geo-blocked thing I could find from Back to School on Tull.
ICYMI: @AlisonHammond recently visited our stadium with Walter Tull's great nephew, Ed, to learn more about his legacy as the first Black outfield player to play in the First Division.— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 7, 2020
Featuring a surprise from @dele_official! #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/iL7CI821QH
There’s a really lovely cameo from Dele that starts at about the halfway point of the video, and he and Hammond separately define Tull as a traditional trailblazer. Dele almost says it in those words: “It’s crazy to think about what he had to go through and now when you look around our changing room and there’s so many different cultures and it’s because of people like Walter that we can do what we do today.”
One thing that’s great is that Tull’s legacy isn’t entirely obscured at this point in time: there’s a lot to read about him if you’re looking, and I remember the piece Nick Blackman wrote for The Guardian last year, and they went for a little more coverage with a video and photos of his life. What I enjoyed then, and still do enjoy, about the piece is how Blackman shares the biographical details with Tull’s impact on him. Even with a lot of readily available informatio, Blackman argues his legacy should have a bigger role in football:
The visit really moved me. Football is the world’s game; it touches people. Black professional footballers are found in the majority of leagues across the globe – and yet our appreciation of a pioneer such as Tull is minimal. This surely needs to change. ...
And yet, before a friend made me aware of Tull a few years ago, I knew nothing about his story. In the 15 years I’ve been in and around professional football I cannot remember his name being mentioned. Not at training, not in the dressing room, not on the team bus.
Bridging that educational gap is something Hammond is trying to do with Back to School. I read an interview Alim Kheraj did with Hammond for The Guardian, and she said that she made the show for others as much as she made it for herself:
Her speech [on the Black Lives Matter movement in June] resulted in the presenter receiving a call from Sue Walton, a producer at ITV. “We got into a conversation about the fact that I’d told everybody that they needed to educate themselves,” Hammond says, “and I was sitting there thinking: do you know something, I might have to educate myself as well. There’s a lot of black history – my history – that I don’t know about.”
I love that Hammond has put her words into practice, and that’s why I’d really like to watch Back to School even though I can’t. I’m hoping everyone who does tune in enjoys it, though.
Links of the Day
The German Football Federation headquarters in Frankfurt were raided in an investigation of tax evasion, as were some federation members’ homes.
A longer read: Tariq Panja on the winner of the transfer window: super agent Jorge Mendes for The New York Times