Andrew Lovelace is named
on 2022 Football Black List
Andrew Lovelace, Chairman of Watford Ladies Football Club, has been recognised for his work developing girls’ football by being included on the 2022 Football Black List – an initiative shining a light on the most influential Black people in British football.
He joins a host of other winners including Premier League stars Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, managers Patrick Vieira and Vincent Kompany, as well as former Lioness, Lianne Sanderson. Deji Davies, Non-Executive Director at Brentford FC, the only Black board member at a Premier League club, Les Ferdinand, the only Black Director of Football in the game, and FA Board member, Jobi McAnuff, also make the list.
The Football Black List, founded in 2008 by sports journalists Leon Mann and Rodney Hinds, highlights leaders working across all areas of the game from the Black community. A panel of experts drawn from the football industry and the Black community independently vote on nominations made by the public to determine who makes the list.
The panel included representation from the Premier League, The Football Association, League Managers Association, English Football League, PGMOL, BCOMS and Kick It Out.
The Football Black List creates an opportunity to celebrate the Black community’s contribution to the industry, while also encouraging debate and discussion on how best to address the ongoing under-representation of people from African-Caribbean backgrounds off the pitch.
Just as importantly, the list also helps to shine a light on deserving people working in the community and at the grassroots level of the game who often go uncelebrated.
Andrew Lovelace said: “I am thrilled to be on this year’s Football Black List alongside such incredible game-changers. But the success of Watford Ladies FC is down to an extraordinary team effort from our dedicated committee, visionary coaches and a huge army of committed volunteers working tirelessly to create an exceptional 360 football experience for girls and women.”
For much of the club’s 50-year history there was a strong link with Watford FC, but with little-to-no funding for women and girls the programme suffered. In 2017 Watford Ladies FC re-established itself as an independent club and Andrew Lovelace took over as Chairman, determined to deliver a programme that elevated female football.
In just five years Andrew and the committee have rebuilt the club, increasing participation from 100 to over 350 players. A team of 90-plus dedicated staff and volunteers provide a programme from grassroots to elite, with teams competing in the JPL against many of the best in the country. Some players are now part of the England Talent Pathway. The First Team, who the club are now rewarding with contracts, recently played a tier 6 league game against Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium in front of over 5,000 supporters - a milestone for the club and women’s football.
The club pioneered a Dual-Track Football and Education Programme for 16-19-year-olds and is developing elite women’s football at Brunel University. The club also has a Junior FA Weetabix Wildcats Programme for those aged 5 years and up.
Watford Ladies FC is an incredible success story due to the vision, drive and determination of Andrew Lovelace and its exceptional team of coaches and volunteers who believe in the club’s ambition for women’s and girls’ football.
The Football Black List celebration will take place in March in London.
Leon Mann MBE, co-founder of the Football Black List, said:
“We are delighted to be sharing another incredible and inspirational Football Black List. Black excellence shines so brightly in the game and this list underlines that.
“I am particularly proud to see the list now feature Board members, and managers at the top of the game, but clearly we still have a long way to go to see better representation in football. However, we are highlighting those leading the way. We are proud of these individuals and the impact they are making.”
Fellow co-founder of the initiative and Sports Editor of The Voice, Rodney Hinds, added:
“The mixture of elite and grassroots names on the List is exciting and further underpins the great work that many from our community do within the football industry. The Voice is delighted to be the exclusive home of the Football Black List and we look forward to showcasing many more inspiring individuals.”
The Football Black List 2022:
Andre Gray, Aris and Jamaica
Bukayo Saka, Arsenal FC and England
Charlotte Lynch, Leyton Orient Women
Marcus Rashford, Manchester United and England
Raheem Sterling, Chelsea FC and England
Deji Davies, The FA
Jobi McAnuff, The FA
Les Ferdinand, QPR
Maheta Molango, PFA
Sarah Gregorius, FIFPRO
Coaching and Management:
Danetta Powell, Birmingham City FC
Patrick Vieira, Crystal Palace FC
Paul Nevin, West Ham United and England
Vincent Kompany, Burnley FC
Akinola Fashola, West Ham United FC
Akua Agyemfra, Merky and The Balley Consultancy
Freda Ayisi, Content Creator
Liseli Sitali, Sky Sports
Sofia Thomas, Juno Sports Tax
Community and Grassroots:
Andrew Lovelace, Watford Ladies FC
Habib Olorukoba-Oseni, Cray Wanderers and Welling United Deaf FC
Kerry Phillips, Saving Souls FC
Simon Hyacinth, FURD
Trisha Lewis, Romance FC
Dr. Michael Seeraj, Charlton Athletic Community Trust
Lianne Sanderson, talkSPORT
Carl Anka, The Athletic
Fatou Jeng, BT Sport
Jemma Archer, Whisper Productions
Pippa Monique, The Football Mum Podcast
Nelson Kumah, BBC Sport
Ciaran Baxendale, Football Beyond Borders
Iffy Onoura, Premier League
Lauren Impey, PGMOL
Michael Hamilton, AFC Wimbledon
Dr. Paul Campbell, University of Leicester
Ugo Ehiogu’s Ones To Watch:
Cordell Lake-Benjamin, Palace for Life Foundation
Debra Nelson, Football Beyond Borders
J’nae Ward, Refresh Sport Consultancy and Productions
Siham Abdullahi, Buzz 16
Tyra Mills, Kinetic Foundation