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Black History Month: Paul and Darius on their proudest moments

21 October 2021

To celebrate Black History Month, our Foundation asked first-teamers Paul Osew and Darius Charles to share their inspirations and what motivated them to get involved in football.

This event, which runs throughout October, gives everyone the opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture. It's also an opportunity for people to learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes.

Below is a Q&A with Paul and Darius.

Paul Osew

Who were your biggest role models growing up?

Growing up I loved watching Cristiano Ronaldo, and even to this day I still do. I watched a lot of players, including Neymar, Sterling, Rashford and Ronaldinho. I just loved how skilful and direct each and every one of them were, so I would take something from each of them. I would try to implement their skills into my game when it came to matches.

What got you interested/excited about sport?

To be honest, my whole family were always into sport. In Primary and secondary school I loved every sport in PE, but I always excelled more when it came to football.

Why is sport so important to you?

Regardless of the physical fitness side, which I like, the competitive side of sport is also something I love. The achievements along the way, in terms of medals, trophies etc, is all extrinsic motivation, but the psychological, mental, social and physical challenges that sport brings is a learning curve for the future.

What do you think is the biggest change that needs to happen in sport to make it more representative of the UK’s diverse community?

As much as we want it to stop, racism is one thing that black people know is going to be very difficult to prevent. For instance, in all sports there will always be situations where two people have the same skill set, but the level of opportunities differ due to their skin colour. I believe we have to get more black people in senior positions who can relate to some of the young athletes in order to help us on the journey to become professional athletes. Additionally, there should be more accountability by social media platforms in terms of finding and punishing those who choose to post racist comments on social media.

What is your proudest sporting moment?

The dream for many young boys is to become a professional athlete, so my proudest moment was when I signed my first pro contract with Wimbledon. I also scored my first goal at senior level on my home league debut, so that was also special. It was great that our fans were there to share the moment with me. I still play that back over and over again in my head! My family were very proud of me and it was definitely a proud moment for me.

Darius Charles versus Brentford.jpg

Darius Charles

Who were your biggest role models growing up? My grandmother

What got you interested/excited about sport?

Sport kept me out of trouble.

Why is sport so important to you?

It’s been my passion since I was a little boy, providing a place of solace, joy, happiness, and peace, as well as keeping me fit and giving me an opportunity to have fun with my friends.

What do you think is the biggest change that needs to happen in sport to make it more representative of the UK’s diverse community?

For me, it starts with cultural competency, and understanding people from different backgrounds. Building relationships with them will dispel bias and prejudice, therefore making employing someone from a minority background a more feasible option for those who wouldn’t even normally think of doing so.

What is your proudest sporting moment?

Getting promotion to the Championship a year after being told I’d never play again.


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