UTD Podcast: Anderson proud of England landmark
Former Manchester United and England defender Viv Anderson is the guest on this week’s UTD Podcast.
In an episode which you can listen to from this evening on Deezer and all of your favourite podcast platforms, Viv discusses his time with the Reds – he was Alex Ferguson’s first signing at Old Trafford, and turned out for the club between 1987 and 1991.
Anderson also talks about becoming the first black player to appear in a full international for England – a landmark he pipped another former United man, Laurie Cunningham, to.
“Laurie was the first black Under-21 international, I was the first full international,” recalls Anderson, who also played for Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday, among others.
“It was always in the papers debating whether it was going to be Laurie or me [to be the first to appear for the Three Lions], and we were room-mates.
“We never discussed it, it was one of those things, whatever happens, happens. It was just fortunate to be me.
“Was it big news at the time? Yeah it was big news at the time. They spoke to my mum and dad and went to my school, so it was big at the time, yeah.”
Viv stepped out at right-back for Ron Greenwood’s side for a friendly against Czechoslovakia at Wembley in November 1978.
It was the first time the Three Lions had fielded a black player in 106 years of playing senior internationals – an achievement Viv, who would go on to win the European Cup with Nottingham Forest later that season – is still proud of.
“Even now, I go to London and cabbies will say I was at your debut and the rest of it – they’re all like 97 now, but they still remember!” he added.
“I never get fed up of talking about it. It’s something you should be very proud of, and I am.”
Anderson went on to make 30 appearances for the national side and, along with Cunningham, Cyrille Regis and later, John Barnes, helped pave the way for black players to thrive in English football.
Racism was a big issue at grounds up and down the country throughout the 1980s and Anderson believes it was much worse for forwards than for himself.
“Laurie and Cyrille are both sadly no longer with us, but it was completely different for them than it was for me.
“My job was to kick people, and their’s was flair, score goals. They got a lot of abuse. For some reason, I didn’t.
“I never used to like wearing long-sleeved shirts, gloves and all that. My job was to kick the winger, and if he didn’t like it he’d go to the other side and the other full-back would kick him back to me! Brian Clough used to say ‘your job is to keep the ball out of my net – anything else is a bonus.’
“Whenever I played for England, I never got booed or anything by our supporters, but some, like Laurie and Cyrille, did. I didn’t and I think it was because of the position I played.”
You can listen to every UTD Podcast episode on Deezer.