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Cinema & Event Screenings

Whites Vs Blacks: How Football Changed a Nation + Q&A  

This event is now closed
  • Director-
  • Rating-
  • Film genres-
  • Duration120
  • Released-
  • Film Cast-

Tue 15 Nov, 8.20pm*

On 16 May 1979, an extraordinary game of professional football took place that if played today, would cause uproar, mass protest and media frenzy. As part of Len Cantello’s testimonial at West Bromwich Albion, an all-white team took on a side comprised solely of black players – ‘Whites against Blacks’. For the white team, it was nothing more than a lighthearted gimmick, but for the black players it represented so much more. It was a game they had to win.

Life-long West Brom fan Adrian Chiles journeys across England to uncover the truths, taboos and real meaning behind this remarkable game. It was played during an era when for the first time young white boys had black British heroes, not Muhammad Ali or Jimi Hendrix, but black footballers who talked like them, wore the same clothes and played for the teams they loved.

Today, where 30 per cent of English professionals are black, such a game would never take place. These players are superstars in their own right, with some earning in excess of £200,000 a week: names like Ian Wright, Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole transcend the sport. But how far have we come and how did we get here? Adrian Chiles charts the remarkable highs and lows of the modern black footballer and how they changed not only football but the country itself.

Q&A Panel members for White Vs Black screening:

  • Cyrille Regis
  • Ally Robertson
  • Stewart Phillips
  • John Wile

Chaired by Adrian Chiles

Whites Vs Blacks is a film commissioned for Black and British, a BBC season of programming celebrating the achievements of Black people in the UK and exploring the rich culture and history of Black Britain.

White Vs Blacks: How Football Changed A Nation is produced by Sugar Films.

*Please note: This event will be filmed.

Photographs from the premiere event on 15 Nov 2016

Images: Kate Green Photography

This film is showing as part of the BFI’s BLACK STAR season, taking place UK-wide, with the support of the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery.