History Girls

Recent evidence has come to light that reveals a man by the name of Andrew Watson was the world’s first black football player. Starting his career in 1874, he was successful at all levels of the game and set the path for those that would follow him.

Until recently, it was believed that the world’s first black football player was Arthur Wharton, who played for Preston North End in the late nineteenth century. However evidence has recently come to light showing that a man by the name of Andrew Watson was playing in Scotland around ten years earlier than Wharton.

Watson was born in British Guiana in 1857 and later came to Britain, attending public school in Halifax. In 1875 he enrolled in Glasgow University, were he studied Maths, Natural Philosophy, Civil Engineering and Mechanics.

Wharton, who played on either side of defence or in midfield, began his playing career with Maxwell in Glasgow, followed by a stint at Parkgrove in 1874. Later, he played for Queens Park, the top team in Scotland at the time, spending seven years there from 1880-1887. According to the ‘Scottish Football Association Annual’ of 1880-81, he was;

One of the very best backs we have; since joining Queen’s Park has made rapid strides to the front as a player; has great speed and tackles splendidly; a powerful and sure kick; well worthy of a place in any representative team.

He is also known to have represented the London Swifts in the English Cup Championships (FA cup) in 1882, becoming the first player of African descent to play in an English cup competition. Watson won four Charity Cup medals and two Scottish Cup medals, the earliest of which was another milestone in football as he became the first non-white player to be in the winning side of any major football competition.

Watson also holds the distinction of being the first black international player. Acknowledged in the ‘Who’s Who’ for his international performances, he represented Scotland three times from 1881 – 1882, in the International Challenge Match.

In his first international on the 12 march 1881, Watson was captain and led Scotland to a 6-1 mauling of England at Kennington Oval in London, with a crowd of 8,500. In his second, two days later, 1,500 people saw his side beat Wales 5-1 at Acton Park, Wrexham. His team again hammered England a year later on 11 March 1882 in the same competition, beating them 5-1 at First Hampden Park in Glasgow, in front of 10,000 fans.

Watson was not only a pioneer on the field; as club secretary at Queens Park, he was probably the first black member of a football club’s boardroom. Watson spent most of his career as an amateur and was a seasoned and valued player at Queens Park when football officially went professional in 1885, although it is unclear whether he himself turned pro. When his playing days were over, he and his family emigrated to Australia, where he remained the rest of his life.

After his death, Andrew Watson fell into obscurity but has now reemerged to claim his place in both football and black history. As a successful black sportsman living at the end of the nineteenth century, it is easy to speculate on the difficulties and prejudices he would have undoubtedly faced. However despite the obstacles put before him, he had a successful career in a previously all white sport, and deserves to be remembered as one of histories true trail-blazers.

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During the Hanoverian era, Britain experienced considerable demographic growth, the birth of an industrial economy, and extensive social change.

The British population doubled in the century after 1721, from 7.1 to 14.2 million people. Most of the growth occurred after 1750, and particularly after the 1780s.

Between 1810 and 1820, average family size reached five or six children per family, the highest rate in any decade in modern British history.

This surge in population was to some degree the result of falling mortality, which itself was partly the result of widespread smallpox inoculation in the early 19th century.

But it resulted more from a rise in marital fertility, which came primarily from more people marrying and, moreover, marrying at a younger age, thereby maximising women’s childbearing years.

Improved material circumstances in industrialising parts of the nation explain the trend towards earlier and more extensive marriage and larger families. Britain already had a thriving economy in the early 18th century, with productive agriculture, scientific ingenuity, a strong commercial and middling sector, and extensive manufacturing.

After 1760, a gradual but continuing rise in the rates of industrial and economic growth led to Britain becoming the world’s first industrial nation. Britain built factories and canals, extended agricultural productivity through parliamentary enclosure, experienced rapid urban growth, manufactured and patented new industrial techniques, achieved a breakthrough in fuel sources for energy and traded extensively along its own coasts and with Ireland, Europe and the wider world.

Industrialisation did not affect all parts of the nation equally. It was particularly strong in south Lancashire, Yorkshire, Birmingham and the Black Country, the Edinburgh-Glasgow corridor and London.Though industrialisation brought disruption to communities, pollution, booms and slumps and unequal gains, it led in the long term to a better standard of living for most workers.

Read more: bbc.co.uk

In the late nineteenth century, Arthur Wharton (1865-1930) was an athlete of legendary proportions, competing at the top level in many sports including cycling, rugby, cricket athletics and football.

It was previously believed that Wharton was the first ever black football player; however new evidence has recently come to light that shows this distinction goes to Andrew Watson, who played in Scotland in the 1870s. Despite this, Wharton was a pioneer in the sporting world, competing in arenas almost universally occupied by white people. He was a well liked, well respected competitor but unfortunately, his life story did not have a happy ending.

In 1886, at the age of 20 Wharton entered the Amateur Athletics Association (AAA) Championships at Stamford Bridge. As well as becoming the first black athlete to win an AAA championship, he also set a new world record at the event becoming the first man ever to run 100 yards in 10 seconds flat. Later that year, Wharton signed a professional contract with Preston North End football club, one the top teams in the world at that time. Ironically, despite being the fastest man on earth, he was to become a highly respected goalkeeper.

Wharton had a reputation as a hard man on the field and when he unleashed his trademark ‘prodigious punch’, it was said that he always connected with ether the ball, or an opponents head! In those days a goalie could handle the ball anywhere in his own half and players could barge him whether he was on or off the ball, which explains the logic of having a fast, powerful goalkeeper. Wharton seems to have relished the more physical side of the game and like many goalkeepers, he seems to have had an eccentric streak. In a letter to the Sheffield Telegraph and Independent (12th January, 1942) T. H. Smith wrote;

“In a match between Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday at Olive Grove I saw Wharton jump, take hold of the cross bar, catch the ball between his legs, and cause three onrushing forwards – Billy Ingham, Clinks Mumford and Mickey Bennett – to fall into the net. I have never seen a similar save since and I have been watching football for over fifty years”.

Wharton stayed at Preston North End for three years before signing for Rotherham United in 1889. Five years later he moved to Sheffield United were he spent a miserable year, finding it difficult to hold a regular first team place. In 1895 he went back to Rotherham United, were he played in only fifteen league games in six years.

During his time at Rotherham, Wharton was also a pub landlord, running the Albert Tavern and later the Plough Inn in Rotherham then the Sportsman Cottage pub in Sheffield. During this period, he developed a drinking problem, causing his career to nose dive and eventually forcing him to retire from football in 1902. He spent the rest of his life as a colliery haulage worker and by the time he died, on the 12 December 1930, of epithelioma and syphilis, he had fallen into obscurity and was a penniless alcoholic.

Source: socyberty.com

General Back Ache

You may have woken up with back pain, a leftover strain from something you did yesterday. Perhaps you lifted something heavy without using proper lifting techniques, or maybe your back couldn’t take the strain of gardening all afternoon. Your pain isn’t severe enough to go into the doctor; in fact, most back pain is a muscle sprain or strain that will go away on its own in a few weeks.

But until your pain goes away, you’d like some easy exercises and stretches to do to bring relief. In that case, these exercises will help you.

General Back Health

Let’s face it: even if you don’t have back pain right now, you probably have had it at some point—and you’ll probably have it again. To keep your back healthy, you should try to keep it strong, mobile, and flexible. Going through these easy stretches and exercises will help you do just that. Consider incorporating them into your normal exercise routine or making them something you do when you first get up every day.

For maximum benefit, you should do these stretches in the order that they’re listed here.

The Bridge 
Purpose ~ The bridge strengthens your low back and hip muscles, helping stabilize your spine.


* Start on your back with your arms by your side. Your knees should be bent, and your feet should be flat on the floor.

* Slowly raise your hips off the floor, contracting your glutes (your buttocks) and your hamstrings as you go.

* Hold 3-5 seconds.

* Repeat 10 times.

More exercises from spineuniverse.com  

{April 30, 2010}   How to Exercise

Becoming physically active is about incorporating exercise into our daily routine (talked about later) and increasing cardiovascular fitness, strength, endurance and flexibility. This section is about how to start exercising to improve fitness.

There are some basic principles of exercise which will ensure that you gain the maximum benefit from your exercise and that you exercise safely. These concern how often you should exercise, for how long and how difficult it should be. Exercise should also include a warm up, a cool down and stretching of the muscles that you are going to use. Furthermore, having some understanding about exercise will make it more enjoyable and help keep you motivated.

Warming up and cooling down

Depending on your exercise, your warm up and cool down could be the same activity, but performed at a less intense level. For example, if you planned a walk, walk at a slower pace for your warm up and cool down.

Warming up

  • increases the blood flow to the muscles;
  • decreases the chances of injuries to the muscles or joints;
  • should be for 5 – 10 minutes at a very low intensity.

Cooling down

  • prevents blood pooling in your extremities, e.g. your legs;
  • should be about 5 minutes, gradually reducing intensity level.


You should stretch your muscles after your warm-up and cool-down. Stretching is very important: it reduces risk of injury and stiffness, makes your muscles more able to perform the exercise and improves flexibility. A common mistake is to stretch muscles before they are warm. You must warm up first, then stretch your muscles. Stretching cold muscles could injure them. Stretch the muscles you are going to use in your exercise.

  • Breathe in and slowly and gently elongate the muscle you are stretching until you feel tension. Breathe out. (If the tension is uncomfortable find a tension which is comfortable, but aim to feel the stretch). Maintain slow, deep breaths. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Slowly and gently come out of the stretch. Never bounce at any stage and stop immediately if you feel pain.
  • When you stretch properly, the longer you hold the stretch, the less you will feel it. If you do begin to feel your muscle tighten, relax it.

Source:  www.medicine.ox.ac.uk

    Lots of sex, dark chocolate and the Scandinavian routine of cold meat for breakfast are the best ways to boost brain power, a new book claims. And watching soap operas, mixing with serial moaners and fat-free diets should be avoided in the quest for increased mental ability, the book says.

    Much of the advice in Teach Yourself Training Your Brain is unconventional, but its co-authors, Terry Horne and Simon Wootton, say it is based on leading scientific research. They claim that people can combat the considered wisdom that the brain deteriorates with age.

    Mr Horne, a university lecturer, said: “For decades we have thought that the capacity of our brains is genetically determined, whereas it’s now clear it’s a lifestyle choice.

    “People can make lifestyle choices that will not only prevent what used to be seen as an inevitable decline in cognitive ability after the age of 17, but will constantly increase it throughout our adult lives…..Our suggestions will empower people to develop their cognitive capacity or just to let it die.”

    Source: telegraph.co.uk

    {November 6, 2009}   Women to box at the 2012 Olympics

    Women boxers will have the chance to fight for gold at the 2012 Olympics.

    International Olympic Committee chiefs voted on Thursday to lift the barrier to the last all-male summer sport.

    Three women’s weight classes will be added to the Olympic programme for 2012 Games in London, with one of the 11 men’s classes dropped to make room.

    “Women’s boxing has come on a tremendous amount in the last five years and it was time to include them,” said IOC president Jacques Rogge.

    Women will fight at flyweight (48-51kg), lightweight (56-60kg) and middleweight (69-75kg).

    The IOC’s decision was described as “historic” by Olympics minister Tessa Jowell.

    “It will be a landmark moment come London 2012 when for the first time every sport will have women participating in it,” she said.

    “There are still major disparities in the number of medals women can win compared to men but this is a step in the right direction.

    “In this country women’s boxing has come on in leaps and bounds and is growing quickly at all levels.

    “London 2012 will now create the first-ever generation of boxing heroines and hopefully inspire even more women to take up the sport.”

    Source: BBC Sport

    A hot, cramped studio, the potential for bodily slipups, and a whole lot of sweat: Sounds like a date from hell. But, in fact, yoga dates are on the rise—and for good reason! They are intimate, sensual, and cheap, and great for your body and soul, to boot.

    As yoga becomes more mainstream, yoga dates help break up the monotony of the standard dinner-and-a-movie night. “You can learn quite a bit about somebody more quickly than in a restaurant where there’s less interaction with others and it’s the run-of-the-mill date,” says Jennifer Macaluso-Gilmore, who coaches women on dating and relationships.

    Getting your blood flowing in a PG setting can certainly be beneficial with a new partner. “When you move your body you feel good, when your blood starts flowing and you start breathing,” says Jennifer Fink Oppenheimer, a New York–based yoga teacher. “Any sort of exercise makes you feel good, but yoga specifically opens you up.

    Read more

    {September 4, 2009}   Yoga History

    In Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism the word yoga means “spiritual discipline”. People often associate yoga with the postures and stances that make up the physical activity of the exercise, but after closer inspection it becomes clear that there are many more aspects of yoga. It is an activity that has been practiced for thousands of years, and it is something that has evolved and changed overtime. Different factions of yoga have developed since its conception.

    The exact history and origins of yoga is uncertain; however, there are pieces that have been connected and allow us to make some conclusions. It is known that yoga originated from the East. The earliest signs of yoga appear in ancient Shamanism. Evidence of yoga postures were found on artifacts that date back to 3000 B.C. Evidence of yoga is found in the oldest-existing text, Rig-Veda. Rig-Veda is a composition of hymns. Topics of the Rig-Veda include prayer, divine harmony, and greater being.


    1. Lay on the ground with your legs straight and your hands underneath your bottom.
    2. Keep your abdominal muscles tight with your head and lower back flush on the ground.
    3. Pull your legs up and back to a 90° angle from the ground. Do not lock out your knees and keep your focus on your abdominal muscles.
    4. Your lower back should remain flat on the ground at all times
    5. Lower your legs, stop just before your feet touch the ground and reverse the motion back up.


    et cetera