Jamaica’s independence was celebrated at the English grassroots

dr King is also working with the Jamaica Football Association to develop coaching courses as part of a lifelong career dedicated to the cause dear to his late sibling.

“He was a very committed Afro-centric, believed in Jamaican independence, believed that we should be self-determined and believed that Jamaicans should go beyond just participating in sports – they should be coaches and managers,” said Dr. King.

Growing up in predominantly white Brixton in the 1960s, the Kings were painfully made aware of their heritage and educated on the history of colonialism by their mother.

dr King recalled, “As little kids in the ’60s and ’70s, we were very much the subject of Enoch Powell and that kind of negative reaction to immigration.

“So Jamaicans, like my mom and dad, were subject to ‘No Dogs, No Irish, No Blacks.’ They had no access to housing and no access to good jobs.

“We lived in very poor housing. It was very difficult to celebrate our Jamaican heritage.”

Times have changed and although Dr. King believes that while a certain level of acceptance has been achieved, there is still work to be done to change the perception of footballers and coaches of Afro-Caribbean background.

“We are constantly being diagnosed as things we are not. we are not black We are multidimensional. We are first and foremost coaches.

“I think my biggest problem now is women’s football. I think one of the proudest things I’ve done was running access courses for women to work in the game. I think the right thing for me will be if Hope Powell works in men’s football.

dr King has worked with Powell since she trained at the Ferndale Center in south London and has great respect for the former England player-manager and current Brighton & Hove Albion boss.

“Hope Powell has a resilience as a woman with multiple identities that makes her very special,” he added.

“She’s very confident about who she really is. She is acknowledging her sexuality and Jamaican heritage.

“She never forgets who she was or where she came from. She speaks eloquently about race and she was one of the first black people to hold a managerial position in England, so I love the woman.”

FC Cavaliers

When chairman, treasurer and manager Everton Richards first came into contact with what would become Cavaliers FC, they barely had enough players to field a team.

And from the brink of collapse in the late 1980s, Richards has witnessed the club’s destiny to its rise today – with ten sides of all ages going strong in Nottingham’s amateur leagues.

Richards, who attended the same school as Viv Anderson, came to the UK from Jamaica at the age of nine and, like many others in his situation, was struggling to adjust to life on the other side of the world.

“The cold was ridiculous. That was a shock. But I also come from a country where you don’t stay indoors,” he said.

“You’re always outside in the fresh air and we had so much land, hills, trees and rivers to roam around. It took some getting used to.”

Years later, Richards would see the Cavaliers first-team win a Nottinghamshire Senior League and Cup double in 2008, but the club have suffered major setbacks in recent years, and not just from semi-professional teams poaching their players.

On May 7th this year, tragedy struck when 13-year-old Samuel Akwasi suddenly collapsed during a match against WBCY FC Rossoneri and died in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest.

On July 24, an 18-team tournament was held in Samuel’s memory and his father was asked to present the trophies to the winners.

Richards recalls, “It was a huge success. His father was so overwhelmed. He couldn’t believe all these people had come to honor his family.

“I saw him collapse a couple of times but that was the worst. His wife was shattered, still is. On Sunday I held him and said, “Cry all you want, just let it out,” and it made me cry too.

“I’m just glad he was there to see the respect people had for his son. He was shocked. You never get over these things.

“When I talk to someone face to face about it, I can’t hold back the tears. It’s just shocking.”

Akwasi was a popular member of the team that joined at the under-9s level and his coach Richards spoke highly of his footballing skills.

He said: “Samuel was a big, strong, fast boy and he improved tremendously. He had all the physical attributes. If the ball cleared, the guy could be ten yards ahead and he’d still catch it.

“His centre-back has just been taken on by Nottingham Forest and I think that could have happened to Samuel as well.”

The devastation felt by those associated with the football club is compounded by the fact that a defibrillator was located nearby in an inaccessible Forest Recreation Ground building.

In response, the club bought two defibrillators with FA funds, but Richards is appealing to health organizations to ask for more so an incident like this never happens again.

He said: “Everyone hopes we never have a situation like this again, but you have to be realistic in life. Anything can happen at any time.”

Sheffield Caribbean Sports Club

Des Smith came to the UK from Jamaica when he was 13 and reunited with his parents nine years later.

It took a long time to adjust to life in Sheffield, but there was one place Smith felt at home – the local youth club, which soon became the Sheffield Caribbean Sports Club.

It offered boys and girls like Smith a chance to make friends and play football, cricket and netball against teams from across the country.

Smith, whose son Gavin played and managed the oldest football club in the world, Sheffield FC, is now chairman of the SCSC and recalls the enlightening early days in then-alien South Yorkshire.

He recalled: “It was obviously a huge culture shock. You live in a very hot country, there is plenty of fresh food, cricket is the number one game and we have come to a country where you have no experience at all.

“It was very cold. We didn’t really know anything about racism until we got here. We learned a lot of new words because we were called those names.

“It was a total change. They also come to Yorkshire and have their own dialect which causes more problems.”

As an adult, Smith came into contact with top-flight sports, personally assisted England fast bowler Devon Malcolm on his arrival in the UK and welcomed a very special guest to the club in the late ’70s.

He said: “Laurie Cunningham came to the club to meet the members and the football team ahead of his game that night at Bramall Lane.

“He really inspired us to keep playing football and to say, ‘Look people, you can do this despite all the racism etc.’

“He was just an ordinary guy. He was like one of us. We knew he was special, but we just talked to him the way I’m talking now.”

Smith has fostered a spirit at the club based on respect, hard work and, most importantly, enjoying the game.

“The most rewarding thing is working with so many people who want to play sports,” Smith said.

“The exciting thing is the number of young people who are involved in the club – we have forty children who come to training three or four times a week.

“It’s just fantastic to see her. At a presentation night a few months ago, the place was packed with families and children and that made me really proud.

“Every moment is a happy one. It’s a great club to work for, a great club to play with. Everyone likes to play for and against the club because we play hard but have a good time afterwards.

“People go out and make friends.”

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