Exclusive Interview: Viv Anderson - The First Black Player To Represent England
Viv Anderson is a truly inspirational figure within modern football. With a playing career spanning 20 years and experience as a player-manager, this formidable defender represented some of the great English football teams of the 1970s and 80s, including Nottingham Forest, Arsenal, Manchester United and Sheffield Wednesday. However, it was his international career that he became most famous for, when in 1978 he became the first Black footballer to represent the English National Team.
In this revealing interview with our Director, Jack Hayes, Viv talks about the invaluable experience he gained playing under some of the all-time great coaches of the modern era, including in particular Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson. He also offers some insights into developments in inclusivity within the beautiful game.
If you want to inspire your staff to become leaders in their own right, or entertain your guests with tales of European footballing glory, get in touch with a member of our team to discuss booking Viv for your virtual webinar, conventional event or private corporate workshop.
Q: What Are Your Career Highlights?
"The highlights of my career have been ... I was very fortunate to win the European Cup twice with Nottingham Forest. We won the league with Nottingham Forest. I won the, not the FA Cup - not too good in the FA Cup - but the Milk Cup, Super Cup, and winning the league is a big thing I think."
Q: What Was It Like Playing Under Brian Clough?
"Nottingham Forest changed under Brian Clough very, very quickly. He was a big overriding influence on everybody who was there; myself, John Robertson, Tony Woodcock, Martin O’Neil were all there when he arrived and he made a big impact straight away and as I said earlier went on to win many things."
Q: What Was It Like Playing Under Sir Alex Ferguson?
"Playing under Sir Alex Ferguson - he was very similar to Brian Clough, they demanded respect. If they said walk through that wall you would do that. I think both very similar, playing football in the same way - you play and move. They were both very, very good man-managers, so they were very, very similar in many respects."
Q: What Was It Like To Be The First Black Player To Play For England?
"Very honoured, first and foremost. Myself and Laurie Cunningham were vying for that position and luckily enough I end being the one getting the call from Ron Greenwood to say that I was going to be the first black player. Laurie was already the first black under-21 international, but it turned out I was the first full international.
"So, obviously very proud and very honoured - to play for your country is always a great thing."
Q: What Do You Think About Inclusivity In Football?
"Oh it’s changed a tremendous amount. There was only a couple of black faces, well there was only one black face on the television when I played, was a lad called Clive Best. Then obviously I came along, Cyril came along, Laurie came along, and it’s changed a hell of a lot now. You look up and down the country there’s more black faces playing in football teams.
"I just think the next stage is management side. I think we’ve only got two or three managers. It’s really important we’re not just looked upon as athletes, but we’re looked upon as managers of men."
Q: What Are Your Thoughts On Racism In Football?
"I think the fines from UEFA are boarding on pathetic. I think when you talk about £65,000 for the fine for what the incidents just recently in Bulgaria, I think it’s absolutely pathetic. I think it’s got to be, you know millions of pounds so that the associations or whatever country it is takes up and takes notice. It’s not acceptable in 2019 going on to 2020.
"So, I think the fines have got to be more stringent and I think, if needs be, kick them out of the competition whichever they’re playing in."
You can book Viv Anderson as the speaker for your next corporate event, function or sportsman dinner by contacting Champions Speakers via our online contact form or by giving us a call directly on 0207 1010 553.