Three members of the Hammers family honoured on 2020 Football Black List
The Club is proud that three members of the West Ham United family have been named on the 2020 Football Black List.
Introduced in 2008, the Football Black List celebrates and recognises the wide array of influential black individuals and their achievements in the football industry across six different categories: Media, Community & Grassroots, Coaching & Management, Administration, Players (off-the-pitch) and Commercial.
This year, Commercial Director Nathan Thompson, Academy Player Care Officer Kiera Colthart and West Ham United Foundation Trustee Marie Gabriel CBE have all been recognised for their contribution to the Club and the sport.
West Ham United Vice-Chairman Karren Brady said: “On behalf of everyone at West Ham United, I would like to congratulate Nathan, Kiera and Marie on this magnificent and well-deserved accolade. Everyone at the Club is extremely proud of their achievement, but what I am most proud of is the fact that Nathan, Kiera and Marie so enjoy being part of an inclusive and diverse working environment at West Ham, one that has given them the opportunity to flourish and succeed as individuals.”
This year, the Club has created a Staff Equality Forum, and staff were joined by Danny Lunan, from Equality and Diversity UK, who will be advising and guiding the Club on the forum as well as its ongoing EDI programme. The Club will also fund training for Equality Champions, and the forum will directly influence decision-making at Board level to be implemented across the organisation. The Club’s work is focused in some of the country’s most diverse areas, such as Newham, where 74% of residents are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and 5% of mixed ethnicity.
Thompson has played a central role in growing the Club’s commercial operations since joining in 2016, leading West Ham United to being the 18th-highest revenue generating club in world football in the 2020 Deloitte Football Money League.
“I am extremely proud,” said Thompson. “It’s a privilege to be recognised alongside so many talented individuals. The Football Black List is something I have monitored and reviewed with admiration for a number of years, so to be included on the list this year in recognition of my success at West Ham United is incredible.
“I hope I and others on both the current and previous Football Black Lists can serve as an example to aspiring young black individuals that with the right focus, dedication and relentless drive, you can develop successful careers in football.
“It is important that young black individuals are able to look at people that hold senior positions across the football landscape, but specifically at a Premier League football Club, it is very powerful for them to be able to see a face that looks like them, to authentically showcase that they can achieve whatever they want in their careers.”
Thompson, who was appointed Commercial Director in May this year after previously holding the roles of Head of Partnerships and Partnerships Director, believes West Ham United is a truly equal opportunities employer.
“I realised after my first interview with the Club, four years ago, that West Ham United was - and remains to be - a family club and somewhere that my career would be able to grow and flourish,” he continued.
“I’m excited for what is to come at the Club as we continue to push forward in our battle for equality and against racism.”
Academy Player Care Officer Colthart, who spent nine years working with young people and young adults at risk before joining the Club to help secure and promote player welfare and leadership, said: “I am truly honoured to be named on the ‘Ugo Ehiogu ‘Ones To Watch’ List 2020 and it is something I am very proud of.
“It is great to be listed amongst other talented black figures in the game and something I do not take lightly. It’s really nice to know that people outside of the Club are also recognising the work I do at the Academy.”
Marie Gabriel has been a Trustee of West Ham United’s award-winning Foundation since 2014, playing a leading role in the development and implementation of dozens of schemes and initiatives that have changed the lives of tens of thousands of people living across east London and beyond.
With four decades of experience in senior executive roles in a variety of sectors and nearly 20 years of experience in a variety of NHS leadership roles, Gabriel’s knowledge and commitment to equality and the communities of east London have seen her recognised with a series of awards.
“I am truly honoured by being placed on such an important list and amongst such distinguished people,” she said. “I understand how critical it is to recognise the contribution of black and minority ethnic people to football and I am proud to give up my time voluntarily to West Ham Foundation, where ensuring meaningful inclusivity for the community I live in is core business.”