Walter Daniel John Tull (28 April 1888 – 25 March 1918) was an English professional footballer who played as an inside forward for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town. He was the second person of mixed race to play in the top division of the Football League, the first mixed-race British outfield player in the top division of English football. His professional football career began after he was spotted while playing for his local amateur club, Clapton F.C.He began playing for Clapton in 1908 and within a few months he had won winners' medals in the FA Amateur Cup, London County Amateur Cup and London Senior Cup. In March 1909 the Football Star called him "the catch of the season".
Tull was brought up in a National Children's Home orphanage in Bethnal Green, London, along with his brother, following the death of their parents. He joined Tottenham in 1909 and transferred to Northampton Town in 1911, where he made 111 first-team appearances.
During the First World War, Tull served in the Footballers' Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, and fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 30 May 1917. Tull fought in Italy in 1917–18, and was mentioned in dispatches for "gallantry and coolness" while leading his company of 26 men on a raiding party into enemy territory. He returned to France in 1918, and was killed in action on 25 March during the Spring Offensive; his body was never recovered.
Campaigners have called for a statue to be erected in his honour, and Northampton South MP Brian Binley has campaigned for Tull to be posthumously awarded the Military Cross.
The Nubian Jak Community Trust launched the Walter Tull Champions Cup U16's Football Tournament in October 2014 as part of the Centenary Commemorations for WWI. The month of October was chosen not only for its significance to African and Caribbean remembrances in the UK, but because pioneering Walter Tull achieved a number of firsts during this particular month:
October 1908 Plays his first game for Clapton Rovers – it is here that he becomes the first “Black” footballer to win a senior football medal - 3 in total.
October 1909 Tull signs for Tottenham Hotspur and is the first Black player to score in England's Premier Division. He is also the first Black professional outfield player in the UK. (Arthur Wharton - the Preston Northend goal keeper - was the first Black player).
October 1909 Tull is the first professional football player to be dropped due to racial abuse from fans.
October 1911 He is signed by legendary manager Herbert Chapman for Northampton Town.
October 1916Tull is the first Black British born soldier to serve in the Battle of the Somme. He is promoted to Army officer, and is later recommended for a Military Cross for Bravery.
“I was out playing football on Hackney Marshes and a scout was there from Clapton Football club. He saw me playing and thinks I should have a trial with them. It’s great to think I will be part of a team. ” Walter Tull August 1908
“What a season we have had. We’ve won the London Senior Cup, London County Amateur Cup, and now the Amateur Cup. ” Walter Tull April 1909 - weeks before being signed by Tottenham Hotspur
Santley Athletic 2015 Details
Winners of the Walter Tull Champions Cup© 2015
The Walter Tull Champions Cup Football Tournament is an FA endorsed youth competition for under 16’s.
In October 2015 it had 8 champion winning teams from across the capital competing. The defending champions were Actual Soccer from West London, winners of the 2013-14 Harrow Youth League. The 2015 event took place during half term school holidays and was run in partnership with Santley Athletic FC – the eventual winners of the tournament.
Quarter Finals 26 Oct: Pyners Close, Dulwich
|Carlshalton Athletic FC||v||4||North London FA||0|
|London United||v||2||Broomwood FC||4|
|Hounslow All Stars||v||1||Santley Athletic||3|
|Wembley unable to field team and Actual Soccer progress to semi-finals|
Semi Finals 28 Oct: Pyners Close, Dulwich
|Actual Soccer||v||0||Carlshalton Athletic||2|
|Santley Athletic||v||5||Broomwood FC||4|
Finals 30 Oct: Haringey Borough FC, White Hart Lane
|Carlshalton Athletic FC||v||0||Santley Athletic||0|
|Santley Athletic win 4 - 2 on penalties|