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Man Utd legend Andy Cole credits Windrush parents for successful career despite dad claiming football ‘isn’t for you’


ANDY COLE claims he would not have been a footballer if not for his parents and he is incredibly grateful for the sacrifices they made.

The former Manchester United striker, 49, is the son of two Jamaican immigrants who moved to England as part of the Windrush generation.

Dwight Yorke (left) celebrates winning the Champions League with Andy Cole (right)

And he has explained what it was like to grow up in a black household in Nottingham in the 1970s as part of a new documentary about football’s connection to Windrush.

BT Sport’s Standing Firm: Football’s Windrush Story is presented by poet Benjamin Zephaniah.

In it, Cole tells Zephaniah: “My mum came with my grandad first. Then my father followed, madly in love. I look at that and that’s the gamble of your life but my parents are still together now, so it looks like that gamble paid off.

“My dad would say: ‘When you’re down there [in the mines], you’re all friends. There is no colour. Because you’re all black.’ That stuck with me.

“I know how hard my dad worked. I appreciate everything my parents have done for me. Even more so now. [The coal mine] gave me the start.

“I remember [my dad] saying ‘it’s going to be very very difficult for you to earn a living playing that game [football]. It’s not for you.’


“He always wanted me to go and play cricket. But you know when your heart’s set on something? My heart was set on football.

“Winning the Champions League in Barcelona was such a special thing. Once we won it, I took a little time out to myself.

“It’s about reminiscing: ‘how did I get here?’ Without my parents and without my grandparents as well, I can’t make this. Knowing what they sacrificed for me to be in that position, I just think about people that are not there. For me it was touching to know that I’d reached the pinnacle.”

Cole is one of a number of successful players, past and present, to feature in the documentary.

Zephaniah takes the audience through the stories of players such as Luther Blissett, Cyrille Regis, Clyde Best, Brendon Batson, Laurie Cunningham and Viv Anderson – pioneers for black footballers in England.

Ian Wright, Les Ferdinand and Paul Ince’s roles are also covered – Ince was the first black player to captain England.

The documentary also focuses on the present-day fight for racial equality in Britain and the role football is playing to win progress.

Tyrone Mings, a vocal modern day footballer – who famously called out Priti Patel for her hypocrisy over the taking of the knee – also took part in the documentary.

The first black player to play for England, Viv Anderson, is covered in the documentary
Paul Ince and several other important icons are also explored by the BT Sport film

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