It is now a year since Wolves Foundation were delighted to stage an official relaunch event for Premier League Kicks at the Arena at Aldersley, celebrating more than £700,000 additional funding from the Premier League.
Participants of the project which engages young people from the city are continuing to go from strength to strength with their own personal development, despite challenging times caused by the Covid pandemic and lockdown.
To mark the year’s anniversary, we caught up with a few young participants from PL Kicks during Black History Month to find out who it is that inspires them and, at a time when the club is highlighting the Premier League’s No Room For Racism campaign, any experiences and feelings they have regarding discrimination.
It is very important to highlight Black History Month. Black lives have been suppressed for many years and this helps people who have been feeling suppressed to open up and feel like people are with them and are supporting them.
My inspiration is Pele, the legendary footballer. Through many years of racism, he carried on playing football and has inspired both players and young people from around the world. Whatever has happened to him in life he has smiled through it, and that is what I have taken from it. That is what me and my family do – we smile through everything, good and bad, and I have learned to see the better side of things.
I also use my friends to inspire me and other people around me. The Wolves Foundation have helped me as well, and the Cyrille Regis programme has inspired me, to take me on a different path to what I was going to be.
I think it is great to have Black History Month. Black people need to be recognised for the achievements they have done in the past and will do in the future.
Basketball player Michael Jordan is my inspiration. This man has been scoring points from time! For me, I have been bullied at times, moving around different places. If things happen to me I just chill with my friends and play football and basketball and that gets my mind off it.
My inspiration is Martin Luther King, because he helped others to know about black people and what went on with racism. When I saw a video of his famous speech, I thought it was a really powerful message. If I think people are being racist, I suggest that they watch it and learn about Martin Luther King because what he says are real facts.
If I do think people are being racist to me I ask them what they are doing and say that they shouldn’t be saying those things and should keep their thoughts to themselves.
My inspiration is Raheem Sterling. He always keeps his head up when he is on the end of any racism. From that I take it that haters are going to hate and you have just got to keep on going and doing what you do.
I have encountered racism and been called all sorts of things. Normally I would respond by fighting people, but now I look at what Raheem Sterling has done, and it’s about keeping your head up and not listening.
I also think Black History Month is very important. It means young people look and learn about what happened back in the day, and all about our ancestors.
My inspirational person is the PSG and France footballer, Kylian Mbappe. He plays in my position and is so good! From his example I see it is important to always work hard and try your best.
I haven’t suffered any racism myself but my friends have had grief because of the colour of their skin and that’s not good. I think if it ever happened to me I would be saying that everyone is equal and would speak to someone about it.
I think the most important thing about all the movements is to try and bring the community together so that everyone is treated equally and with respect.
Black Lives Matter is very important to me. In the past there have been black people who have been treated differently to white people because of their colour.
For me if I ever experienced anything I would speak to my Mum about it. I know other people have had some bad experiences, and I think even now some people are racist in their own ways.
To improve things everyone needs to be treated equally whatever the colour of their skin.