Show Racism the Red Card strongly support the FA’s call to honour first black British female player

Show Racism the Red Card support the FA’s call to honour Emma Clarke, Britain's first black female footballer.

Saj Chowdhury of the BBC reported that the Bootle-born player first featured for the British Ladies' team in 1895 and went on to appear at stadiums such as St James' Park and Portman Road.

Now Anna Kessel, sports writer and co-founder of Women in Football, wants Clarke to receive wider recognition: "A blue plaque on her childhood home would be brilliant.

"It would also be lovely to see the ground on which she made her debut recognised. I know English Heritage have rules about where a plaque can be attached - on an existing original building - however there are no existing buildings left on the pitch in north London where Clarke played. Maybe English Heritage could rethink their criteria.

"There could also be a statue of Clarke on Wembley Way. When female fans go to watch football at Wembley, they see the statue of England men's World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore, which is great - but wouldn't it also be great to see one of the incredible women players we've had in this country?

"At the moment there are only two statues of sportswomen in the UK - that's 1% of the total."

The FA has been contacted by Women in Football regarding a statue of Clarke either on Wembley Way or St George's Park, the national football centre.

The story of Clarke was discovered only last year by Stuart Gibbs, who was researching the history of women's football for an exhibition. From the subsequent information gathered, parts of her story were dramatised in a production called Offside, which toured the UK in 2017.

Emma Clarke, a brief biography

Emma Clarke was born in Liverpool in 1876. A confectioner’s apprentice, she likely grew up playing football on the streets of Bootle. Aged just 19, Emma made her professional debut for the British Ladies team in 1895, in London’s Crouch End, in front of a crowd of 11,000 in a match covered by the mainstream media. Emma also had two sisters, and it is believed that they joined her on Mrs Graham’s XI tour of Scotland the following year. In the 1890’s interest in women playing football was high and thousands of spectators attended matches, prompting widespread press coverage. Sadly, there are no known interviews with Emma, but the coming to light of her existence – through the work of historian Stuart Gibbs - is a big moment for the game.

 Emma Clarke: FA backs call to honour first British black female player