Bigger than ourselves: How football can help to challenge racism

Discussion led by Anthony Clavane

  • Mon 27 Jan 20

    12:30 - 13:30

  • Colchester Campus

    Lakeview Room, Silberrad Student Centre

  • Event type

    Holocaust Memorial Week

  • Event organiser

    Corporate events

  • Contact details

    Holly Ward
    01206 873270

Anthony Clavane from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies will be leading a discussion on how football can help to challenge Racism.

“For a few beautiful, long weeks as the anticipation and pride and expectation kept building up, we came together in a way we hadn’t for a while. There were mosques draped with the England flag. There were Hindu mothers and young Muslim boys doing faux-prayers in front of the TV. We shared memes, laughs and songs of ‘it's coming home’ in countless multicultural settings. We showed that pride in England can be expressed in lots of different ways.” 

This quote, from Sunny Hundal in Open Democracy (17 July 2018), is alluding to the unifying atmosphere of England's 2018 World Cup campaign. As England manager Gareth Southgate said: "We have the chance to affect something bigger than ourselves. We are a team with our diversity and with our youth that represents modern England." 

Football can be divisive and, through its tribalism, foster racism. It can also emit a sense of common purpose and bring people together to challenge racism; this ideal was exemplified by Southgate's multiracial team, whose fortitude and togetherness were apparent during the European Championship qualifier in Bulgaria, when sections of the home crowd racially abused three English black players. 

Anthony Clavane is a Lecturer in Multimedia Journalism and his teaching focuses on feature writing, editing, storytelling across a range of genres - from reportage to scriptwriting - and contemporary history. 

His research specialisms are in autobiography, storytelling, belonging and identity and the cultural context of sport. He has written three books: Promised Land, which was named both Football Book of the Year and Sports Book of the Year by the National Sporting Club; Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here?, which was shortlisted for Football Book of the Year. and A Yorkshire Tragedy, which was a Guardian book of the year. He has written three plays: Promised Land, Leeds Lads and Playing The Joker. 

He has spent the past three decades working as a senior journalist on various local and national newspapers. He began as a news reporter and then a feature writer for the East Anglian Daily Times, before progressing to The Independent and then the Mirror. He currently writes for The Observer, The Guardian, The New Statesman, The New European, The Yorkshire Post and other publications. He has won Press Gazette Feature Writer Of The Year and BT Regional Sportswriter Of The Year awards.  

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Bigger than ourselves: How football can help to challenge racism