In the eighties, my early days at BBC, it was common knowledge amongst friends that there was more diversity in the canteen than anywhere else. As Director General of The BBC in 2001 you described this state of affairs as “hideously white”. That an organization can be “hideously white” is no reason to assume that anyone who is black should be included. You knew that and we black and skilled practitioners knew that too.
Now that you are chairman of The Football Association it’s a great honour to present my poem to you Greg. It was commissioned by The FA and It will be shown on the big screens at Wembley Stadium just before the football players walk onto the field at 5.20pm. As for the glass ceiling? It’s still there. Thankfully cracks have caused it to be frosted – more visible. I know that. You know that too.
I’m delivering the keynote speech at The Premier League Coordinators Conference in Oxford on 10th June. That’s the FA and The Premier League. There is science in football. There is emotion. There is art. I’m presently a candidate for Chancellor at University of Manchester. I say this because the aspirations in the FA Cup poem feel as relevant to that. For this short time in my life tomorrow – approximately one and an half minutes – I will be a part of it – a black man, a British Citizen, an English man, An Ethiopian, a Mancunian. Every game is an adventure.