Tyrone Mings has told how his Windrush generation grandparents bravely travelled to England in 1966 from Barbados – the year the Three Lions last won the World Cup.
It was a bold move without which the 28-year-old defender would not be stepping out to represent his country tomorrow at Euro 2020 against Germany at Wembley.
Speaking in a brand new BT Sport documentary 'Standing Firm: Football’s Windrush Story' he explains: “We are living in a world where it is accepted and normal for us to be in an England dressing room with people from different cultures and backgrounds but without digging into the history, you can take it for granted.
"My grandparents came here from Barbados in 1966 and I’m now becoming more aware of my Caribbean roots and what they went through. The risk they took in coming over and setting up a family here, has ultimately led to me being able to play football here and represent the national team. They would be extremely proud of me playing for England."
Other recent documentaries from BT Sport Films include; Proud To Be Town (the story of Harrogate Town fighting their way through a global pandemic, battling for survival and promotion to the football league), Greavsie (the tale of the rise, fall and rise again of Jimmy Greaves one of the finest footballers in British history), and, George Best: True Genius (the story of how Best rose to become the best player in the world and one of the greatest footballers of all time).
'Standing Firm: Football’s Windrush Story' will delve into the history of West Indian communities in the UK, celebrate the pioneers who paved the way for black footballers in this country and examine the role current players are taking in the continued fight against racism in football and wider society.
Ex-Manchester United and England forward Andy Cole (above) also features in the film. He said: "As I’ve got older I have gained a better understanding of what my parents and grandparents went through when they first came to this country from Jamaica and learnt about the sacrifices they made in order for me to reach the pinnacle in my career."
Presenter Benjamin (below) added: "Quite a lot is known about how the Windrush generation changed the NHS, the rail and bus service, and even music in our country, but very little is said about football.
"So, in this film I went out and talked to descendants of Windrush pioneers about their family’s journeys, how football has changed over the years, and their place in the game today. We have come a long way, and there are many rivers to cross, but I was pleasantly surprised, and inspired, by what I found. This is the film I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. This is about the game I love. This is personal."
Benjamin explores the role the likes of Luther Blissett, Cyrille Regis, Clyde Best, Brendon Batson, Laurie Cunningham and Viv Anderson, had on establishing the Windrush generation and also examines why football is now at the forefront of the fight for black civil rights in this country like never before with the help of a new wave of politically engaged players coming to the fore amid the recent Black Lives Matter movement.
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