The world's greatest ever footballer, Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, better known as Pele, has given his full support to FARE founder member Football Unites, Racism Divides during a visit to Sheffield United on 8th November. He joined FURD and Sheffield United staff at the Legends of the Lane museum to officially unveil the new exhibition about Laurie Cunningham – the first black player to be selected to play for England – and the history of black footballers in Sheffield, along with a display about the world's oldest football club, Sheffield FC. He was presented with gifts including a Football Unites, Racism Divides t-shirt and a copy of the book 'The First Black Footballer: Arthur Wharton 1865-1930'.
The Brazilian legend said:
“This is an important moment not just for me, or the club, but for everyone, and I thank God that I can be here.
“In 1958 I was 17 when I went to Sweden with Brazil for the World Cup. At that time I met the England team, and the Sweden team, and lots of other teams, and there were no black players. I could not understand that – I asked why but no one had an answer for me.
“But after ‘58 I started to notice a change and we started to have players from all over the world. Today's event shows how football brings people together and I am proud to be part of that.”
Pele was in Sheffield to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Sheffield Football Club and to promote a new development partnership between Sheffield United and former World Club champions, Brazilian club Sao Paulo.