History was made at Griffin Park 37 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.
As October comes to a close so does Black History Month 2018, which has run for the last 31 days. Black History Month is an annual commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK. And as Black History Month 2018 ends, Brentford FC is looking to confirm the role black footballers have played in the Club’s history.
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.
Brentford FC is now trying to confirm whether Chris was the first black player on the Club’s books. Research has shown 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.
The Club would like to thank Paul Briers and Mark Chapman for their assistance in compiling the above and would be interested to hear from anyone who can share any further information.