Jack, Josh and David's School Report

Jack and David Sullivan Jnr and school friend Josh Klein tackled the issue of racism in football during a recent visit to West Ham United's training ground.

The Joint-Chairman's sons and Josh - joined by project co-ordinator Paulette Pewsey - were welcomed to Chadwell Heath by manager Sam Allardyce and his players for a special BBC School Report.

Jack and Josh, both 13, asked the questions to Big Sam, captain Kevin Nolan and his team-mates, while David, 15, filmed the visit from behind the camera. To close the report, Joint-Chairman David Sullivan himself also discussed his views on the subject.


Jack and Josh asked the manager, captain, Jordan Spence, Carlton Cole, Mark Noble and Mohamed Diame for their views on racism in football, whether it is on the increase or decline, how they would handle being or hearing a team-mate being abused and what the club does to combat prejudice.

The boys explained that they had been inspired to investigate the issue by the story of Arthur Wharton - the first black professional footballer in the world, who represented Darlington, Preston North End, Rotherham United and Sheffield United during the 1880s and 1890s.

"We felt it was important to come down and speak to the manager and players because this is a big topic at the moment - not just in football, but in sport and in the world in general," said Jack.

Jack Sullivan

Josh and Jack with manager Sam Allardyce

The boys said that they had been pleasantly surprised to learn that the manager and players seldom came across racism during their careers.

"I didn't realise that they didn't witness racism as much as I thought they would," said Josh. "Jack and I were inspired by Arthur Wharton, who came over from Ghana and was the first black player in the English league, so we thought he would be a good base of our story and we went from there."

"I was pleased to hear that because I thought it was a bigger issue," added Jack. "The players said they had never really witnessed racism, so you do have to wonder if the press and people like that blow it out of proportion."

Thankfully, the two boys found their experience while playing sport at school to be similarly racism-free.

"At school, I have not witnessed racism," said Josh. "Jack and I thought it was important to do this School Report because we are both big football fans and we thought people would like to know what is happening by getting the players' and the manager's views."

"I think there will always be a small minority who make prejudicial chants, but I am sure we can get rid of them in the future," added Jack, confidently.

The boy's School Report can be viewed here.

Jack Sullivan

Jack and Josh with Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Mohamed Diame