Trophy won by Doncaster-based world's first black professional fooballer found in attic after appeal

Part of a trophy won by the world's first black professional footballer, who lived and played in Doncaster has been found in an attic after a nationwide appeal.

Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 12:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:23 pm
The restored trophy lid. (Photo: North Riding FA).

The owners of the Saturday County Cup - which has been in use since 1880 - launched a bid to solve the 50-year-old riddle of the trophy's missing lid earlier this year.

The North Riding FA issued an appeal to find it as the trophy went on display at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

Doncaster's Arthur Wharton with the trophy in 1887.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The lid - which went missing between the 1960s and 1980s - has now been restored after being found in several pieces in a loft in Middlesbrough.

North Riding FA chief executive Tom Radigan said: "It is a great end to a great story.

"The cup is now in the museum for all football fans to see. To be able to reunite it with its lid, so the old trophy it takes on its full identity, is wonderful."

The finder asked to remain anonymous.

Doncaster's Arthur Wharton with the trophy in 1887.

The silverware was once lifted by Wharton, recognised as the game's first black pro player and who is buried in Edlington.

In 1887, it was won by a Darlington team including Wharton.

He was born in Jamestown, Gold Coast - now Ghana - in 1865 and moved to England in 1882 at the age of 19 to train as a Methodist missionary, but soon abandoned this in favour of becoming a full-time athlete.

He was an all-round sportsman - in 1886, he equaled the amateur world record of 10 seconds for the 100-yard sprint in the AAA championship.

He was also a keen cyclist and cricketer, playing for local teams in Yorkshire and Lancashire. However, Wharton is best remembered for his exploits as a footballer.

He started as an amateur, playing as a goalkeeper for Darlington and later played for Preston North End, Rotherham Town, Sheffield United and Stockport County.

He retired from football in 1902 and found employment as a colliery haulage worker at Yorkshire Main Colliery in Edlington.

On his death in 1930 he was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave. The grave was given a headstone in 1997 after a campaign by anti-racism campaigners Football Unites, Racism Divides and in 2003 Wharton was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of the impact he made on the game.