History was made at Griffin Park 40 years ago today when Chris Kamara made his Brentford debut. On 31 October 1981 Chris – now best known for his punditry on Sky Sports – wore the red and white stripes for the first time when The Bees took on Burnley at Griffin Park. In doing so, he became the first black player to represent Brentford in the Football League.
The 0-0 draw against Burnley in 1981 was a landmark game for the Club. Chris formed a central midfield partnership with Terry Hurlock that day and made the first of his 190 games for The Bees in all competitions. Chris spent three-and-a-half years in West London before leaving in the summer of 1985 and was joined later that season by Terry Rowe, who made his debut in February 1982 against Newport County.
As October comes to a close so does Black History Month 2021. Black History Month is an annual commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK. Earlier this month Brentford FC teamed up with the London Museum of Water and Steam to host an event themed around the history of black players at Brentford.
The event featured players who have represented The Bees. More on it can be seen here. Chris sent a message ahead of the event, which can be seen below.
Brentford FC undertook some research in 2018 to try and find out whether Chris was the first black player to feature in any First Team match. We believe there are two players of unknown origin who may have been Brentford’s first black player. And the Club is seeking assistance from any fans that may have more information.
Felix Leotaud was born in Trinidad in 1878 and is believed to have been on the Club’s books at the end of the 19th century. He is thought to have played in a game against Ealing 1897 and in a reserve game the following year, as well as for Boston Park Cricket Club. It is thought the same Felix Leotaud was Trinidad and Tobago FA President in the 1930s.
The other possibility for the Club’s first black player is Frederick Corbett. He was born in Essex in 1881 and died in Brentford in 1924. A piece about Freddy Corbett was penned by a writer on the Club in the first years of the 20th century describing him as a centre forward formerly of West Ham United, Bristol City and Bristol Rovers. If you know anything about these players, please let us know.