Welcome to the Arthur Wharton Story, an educational resource site on the life and achievements of Arthur Wharton, the World’s first Black Professional Footballer.

This resource is brought to you by Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD), a youth and social inclusion charity based in Sheffield, England. FURD works locally, nationally and internationally to combat racism and increase understanding between different communities.

Within this site you will find a range of free resources for educational use (see the list below). They are aimed at young people in classrooms and community spaces but we encourage everyone to use them to learn more about Arthur’s achievements and the wider context of his story in contemporary Britain.

Arthur Wharton Exhibition Package

booklet cover

In addition to our online resources, FURD also has a physical exhibition package available to loan for a small cost. The package includes:

  • 12 large foam-backed graphic and text panels including a detailed timeline of Arthur’s life
  • An eye-catching roller-banner stand
  • Ten full-colour booklets of Arthur’s Story (additional copies can be purchased separately)
  • Ten copies of the 16-page comic, ‘Arthur Wharton, Victorian Sporting Superstar’, illustrated by Archie Birch (additional copies can be purchased separately, see below)

We are aware that community groups will be operating on small budgets, so to discuss particular needs further, contact


Victorian Sporting Superstar: 16-page full-colour comic book

This beautifully illustrated comic book, brings The Arthur Wharton Story to life in full-colour comic format. Price £2 (discounts available on multiple copies). Order from

Early reviews:

“Brilliant! I’m sure it will go down very well with students and everybody else who sees it and uses it.” (Heritage Lottery)

“Really informative!!!’ (Leon Mann, Kick It Out/BBC)

“Really really good and will prove a great tool in spreading the word to young people” (Andy Bell, BBC Tyne Tees)

Click here to see inside.

The Arthur Wharton Archive at FURD

FURD and Sheila Leeson at at Arthur Wharton commemoration at Wembley 2011

Sheila Leeson and family members at Arthur Wharton commemoration, Wembley 2011

FURD also has an in-house resource centre with an extensive archive of articles, notes and references to Arthur Wharton. Contact if you wish to access this material.

Resources on this website in summary

  • A link to the documentary: ‘The Arthur Wharton Story’ – This 35 minute film is an excellent classroom resource providing an immediate sense of Arthur’s life and legacy. Watch online or download to play offline.
  • Arthur’s story in easy to print files– this is a print friendly version of our exhibition booklet detailing Arthur’s story that can be downloaded as an easy to print booklet or in sections as titled. Our bound and colour printed booklet can be purchased as part of our Arthur Wharton Exhibition Package or separately through
  • A collection of Arthur Wharton-related video resources to view online or download
  • A range of image galleries relating to Arthur Wharton for public use including archive photos of Arthur himself
  • PowerPoint Presentations and accompanying notes for use in classrooms, assemblies and community spaces
  • Details of FURD’s Arthur Wharton creative projects to inspire teachers and facilitators


In autumn 2011, FURD was awarded funding by the Heritage Lottery to deliver the Arthur Wharton Heritage Project. The project aimed to spread awareness of Arthur’s story and accomplishments and to show the relevance of his life in today’s multicultural Britain.

As part of the project, FURD worked with schools and community projects in key areas of South Yorkshire where Arthur lived and achieved as an athlete, footballer, cricketer, and in later life, a miner. Primary and secondary school children created artwork, poetry and drama works inspired by Arthur, his sporting achievements and his life.

Further research was also carried out into lesser-known aspects of Arthur’s life and the information gathered was collated into the Arthur Wharton Archive (which you can access directly through FURD). The project culminated in November 2013 with the production of these new educational resources.

Sheila Leeson with Rotherham Young Writers

Sheila Leeson with Rotherham Young Writers

Arthur’s Revival
FURD’s involvement in celebrating, researching and disseminating the story and achievements of Arthur Wharton date back to 1996 and is part of a conscious revival of his memory. Sadly, Arthur was largely forgotten by the history books after his death in 1930 until the mid 1980s.

In the last few decades, FURD, along with his family, historians, sports organisations and passionate individuals have been working hard to ensure that Arthur’s accomplishments continue to be recognised and that his pioneering story is used to inspire future generations and provide a clearer picture of the sporting and multicultural heritage of Britain.

More about the Arthur Wharton Revival

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