Paul Canoville

Paul Canoville

Football Biography
Football Biography Less

Paul Canoville

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Paul Canoville (born 4 March 1962 in Hillingdon) is an English former professional football, most notable for being the first ever black player to play for Chelsea.

Playing career

Early career

Starting out playing for non-league Hillingdon Borough, he signed for Chelsea in December 1981. At the time, Chelsea had among their support a number of hardcore members of far-right and neo-nazi political groups, as did many English football clubs at the time, for whom Canoville became an immediate and regular target for racist abuse.


Canoville was a talented, though inconsistent, left-sided player who joined Chelsea at a time when the club seemed to be imploding, both on and off the pitch. He made his debut on 12 April 1982 against Crystal Palace. He claimed in his biography that during the warm up, he was subject to racist abuse from Chelsea fans.His first full season with the club was one of the worst in its history, as the team avoided relegation to the Third Division on the final day of the season. Canoville nevertheless made an invaluable contribution to the cause with an equaliser against Fulham and a brace in a 4-2 win over Carlisle United.

The following year at Chelsea proved more successful, as a side rejuvenated by a series of John Neal signings were promoted as Second Division champions. He again played an important part by scoring seven goals, including a hat-trick against Swansea City - his only treble for the club. However,...
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