Proud To Be editorial written by Errol Thompson

Proud To Be - Errol Thompson

Errol Thompson shares his Proud To Be editorial this Black History Month


"One of a small number of Administrators in local Grassroots Football who happens to be Black. I didn’t choose to be one of a few because I was trying to add diversity or diversify the position of an administrator in local football. It was a challenge.

The football team I joined in the mid 1970’s decided to fold as it was uneconomical for the Youth Club to continue running the team. I asked what the problem was, and the Youth Leader said they cannot afford to keep the team going. If you think you could do any better, then do it, so I volunteered to raise funds and help to do anything I could for the team, to continue playing at that time in the Regional Saturday League.   

Since then and over 40 years on I have been continually involved with football at Grassroots level within the community I live and beyond. During that time, I have taken on a number of different club management roles, mainly Secretary and Treasurer for the Lebeq Football Club.

I am a member of the Gloucestershire Football Association (GFA) Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG) since 2015, an Independent member of the GFA Disciplinary Panel and the Local Football Anti-Discrimination Panel. I have also spent time as a member of the Management Committee for the Bristol & District and Bristol Premier Combination Leagues, and most recently joined the Gloucestershire Football Association Board of Directors.

At the start of my time as a player, Black football players were seen as Wingers, or Strikers because of their speed and their agility. We were not seen as Defenders, Goalkeepers, Midfield players or Leaders. It was assumed we did not understand the technical side of the game, didn’t like the cold or adverse weather conditions and did not have the ability to tackle. I challenged every stereo type statement of what a Black player is or should be and ended up as a Goalkeeper for over 30 years.

I have seen a lot of changes over the years, but it still doesn’t seem to get any easier with time. There is still racial stereotyping and racial abuse is back on the agenda. My hope for the future would be, that every aspect of football from Grassroots to the Premier League will be as diverse as the players on the pitch, and Black History month will just be plain everyday History for everybody."

Errol Thompson