As part of the celebrations of Black History Month, Brentford FC teamed up with the London Museum of Water and Steam to host an event to remember on Monday, 18 October. Themed around the history of black players at Brentford and held to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of Brentford’s first black player, Chris Kamara, the panel consisted of Marcus Gayle, who played for The Bees in the early 1990s and again a decade later, Marcus Bean, who represented us from 2008 to 2012, and Rebekah Edwards, one of Brentford Women’s current players. With more than 300 appearances between them they gave an insight into what it’s been like being a Brentford player through the decades and some of the experiences they have had.
Hosted by Non-Executive Director Deji Davies, and opened with a video message from Kamara, the event touched on the increase in black players at the club over the last four decades. Since 1981, when Kamara made his debut, the club has had 141 black players in the men’s first team alone, scoring nearly 800 or 30 per cent of the Club's goals. All three players touched on the positive experiences they have had at Brentford FC but felt discrimination in the game more broadly was still a problem that needed to be dealt with better.
The venue itself is currently hosting the ‘Farewell to Griffin Park’ exhibition which includes fan memorabilia and the history of the Club's famous Griffin Park Stadium. The exhibition had been updated especially for this event, with new exhibits showcasing some of Brentford’s black players and including an England schoolboy cap lent by Marcus Gayle. For more info and how to visit the exhibition see Farewell Griffin Park- The Fans' Story - London Museum of Water & Steam.
There was a surprise guest in the form of Joe Briggs, a former NFL player who is now the lawyer for many NFL players. Joe represented Colin Kaepernick when he famously first took the knee on the sports field in the USA. Joe gave the audience an insight to Kaepernick’s decision and it’s meaning in the US and his feelings on the positivity of this event.
This event was part of the clubs efforts around not only celebrating Black history but also to embed inclusion into everything we do. For more information on Brentford’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work and plans, go to our website.