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READ | Club secure piece of Rotherham history

21 March 2017

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Rotherham United would like to inform supporters that the club secured an historic piece of memorabilia at a recent auction. 

The programme/teamsheet marks the first league appearance by a black professional footballer, Arthur Wharton.

Club representatives joined local journalist Les Payne at Sheffield Auction Gallery last Friday, where a football memorabilia auction was hosted containing a number of items from clubs in the South Yorkshire region ranging from programmes to scout reports.

The teamsheet dates from a Division Two game in 1893 between Rotherham Town and Walsall FC, which confirms Wharton as having played in goal and marks his first ever outing in a league competition.

The Ghanaian player had represented Town in previous years and also turned out for Preston North End and Darlington prior to his arrival in South Yorkshire, but it was for Rotherham Town that he made his first league appearance.

In 2014, the FA unveiled a statue at their National Football Centre at Burton commemorating the fact Arthur was the first black professional footballer.

Rotherham United’s Chief Operating Officer Paul Douglas was delighted to see the club reclaim the item which he believes marks a landmark moment in both Rotherham and football history.

“It is fantastic that a teamsheet from such a historic match is back in our possession and we are thrilled to have something at the club that is so significant to Arthur’s achievements,” he told

“We were made aware of the item coming up by club historian Garry Bray and Les Payne and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their part in helping us to bring this piece of football history to AESSEAL New York Stadium.

“Arthur’s achievements in the game are well-documented and we are proud that he represented the club, albeit under their previous guise of Rotherham Town.

“The teamsheet is now available for supporters to view in our display cabinet in reception at AESSEAL New York Stadium and I am sure that many of you will stop by to view it amongst the many other pieces of Rotherham United memorabilia that are housed in there."

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