Howard Gayle and Steve Smithies

Former Liverpool Forward To Speak At Black History Month Event

Howard Gayle among speakers to feature at Liverpool County FA’s Black History Month Celebration event.

Howard Gayle, who progressed through the youth ranks at Anfield before joining the first team, is to feature at Liverpool County FA’s Black History Month event, taking place at the County FA’s Walton Hall Park headquarters on Monday 28 October 2019 between 6.30pm and 9.30pm.

Toxteth-born Howard signed a professional contract with the Reds in 1977, becoming the first black player to play for the club. Featuring in the second leg of the 1981 European Cup semi-final against Bayern Munich, which Liverpool would win 1-1 and progress on away goals, Gayle went on to represent Birmingham City, Sunderland, Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers.

Throughout his playing career, Howard was the subject of racial abuse and has become established as one of the country’s most dedicated activists working to see racism eradicated from the game. 

It is the contribution of players representing the BAME community on Merseyside, like Howard, that the event intends to celebrate at October’s Black History Month event.

Aimed at promoting, supporting and engaging the BAME football communities across our county, the evening will feature a series of guest speakers, including Howard, ranging from grassroots to the professional game.

Ahead of the event, Howard Gayle said: “As someone who has experienced all levels of football in Liverpool from junior, amateur, professional, and as a coach, it’s is important that we promote that football is for everybody. Race, gender or disability should not stop you from talking part in playing our national game.

“Liverpool has the oldest black community in Europe and we must never forget the role that the city played in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. My father came here from Sierra Leone as a merchant seaman after the war and settled in the south end of the city, today known as Toxeth.”

Also speaking on the night will be Steve Smithies, The FA’s Regional Club and Coach Mentor, as the evening provides an opportunity to acknowledge the impact made by coaches from the BAME community working within football at all levels across Merseyside.

Steve Smithies said: “It’s important to celebrate Black History Month and talk about how football unites and inspires all communities to come together and enjoy the beautiful game. In the vibrant, diverse and passionate about football city of Liverpool, I am really proud to support the event that the County FA are hosting.”

There will also be a coaching session delivered by FA Coach Mentor and grassroots coach Tony Sullivan, plus we will hear from ex-female international footballer Comfort Etim and referee Jacob Viera on their inspirational football journeys.

All are welcome to attend the event, which gets underway at 6.30pm.

To register a place, please click here

For more information on the event, please contact Wayne Wardle, Player & Coach Development Officer at Liverpool County FA, via or call 0151 523 4488 (Ext. 113).

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