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Friday, 13 September 2013

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRO - BRITISH THEODORE WALCOTT AN ARSENAL AND ENGLAND INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "

                               BLACK              SOCIAL               HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Theodore 'Theo' Walcott was born on the 16th of March, 1989, in Newbury, Berkshire, England.

As a child, he followed his father Don in being a Liverpool fan, and at the age of 10 took up playing the game with AFC Newbury. Theo scored 100 goals in 35 games for the club's under-11 team and in 2000 won the Peter Houseman League Cup after his side beat Down Grange 4-2 in the final. After impressing with the Berkshire outfit, Theo was offered a schoolboy contract to join Swindon Town's Centre of Excellence, but soon left to join Southampton.

In his first season at Southampton, Theo's career continued to progress. At 15 years and 175 days old, he became the Saints' youngest player to appear for their reserve team by coming off the bench against Watford. He also helped the youth team make the final of the FA Youth Cup, where they lost 3-2 on aggregate to Ipswich Town. Walcott's England career also took off after he broke into the Under-17 team where he scored five times in eleven appearances.

Season 2005/06 was Theo's breakthrough season. He signed a full-time professional contract and at just 16 years and 143 days old, he made a substitute appearance in Southampton's goalless draw at home against Wolves, which made him the youngest player ever to appear for the Saints. Two months later he not only made his first start, but he also scored in Southampton's 2-1 defeat at Leeds United. Subsequently, he then scored in his next two appearances at Millwall and at home against Stoke City. 2005 finished with Theo being named in the top three of the BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year.

Following Theo's rapid rise to fame, Chelsea and Arsenal both made bids for the 16-year-old, however the Gunners were the ones to clinch the forward's signature as Arsenal signed him on January 20, 2006, paying an initial fee of £5m which could rise to a maximum of £12m.

Life at Highbury didn't immediately take off for Theo, as for the remainder of the 2005/06 season, he failed to make a first-team appearance in the red and white shirt of Arsenal, however, he did make the bench for Champions' League matches against Real Madrid and Juventus, as well as a Premiership match against Birmingham City. Walcott did though make appearances for the North London club's reserves. On his debut for the reserves, he scored in their 3-2 defeat by Portsmouth. He also went on to score against Charlton's reserves as well.

In February, 2006, Theo's England career continued to flourish after being promoted to the Under-19s. He scored on his debut in his side's 3-0 friendly win over Slovakia. Three months later, Walcott made a substitute appearance for the England B team against Hungary, where at 17 years and 75 days old, he became the youngest player to appear in a full England match.

The summer of 2006 was when Theo was a controversial choice by then England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, after the Swede included the teenager in his preliminary squad for the World Cup in Germany. The England national team were struggling with injury doubts over strikers Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, and with more established strikers available, like Jermain Defoe, James Beattie and Darren Bent, the nation questioned the logic of the decision. In the end, England went out on penalties to Portugal in the quarter-finals to Portugal. Theo failed to make an appearance.

Prior to season 2006/07, the striker/winger was expected to fight the likes of Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie and Jeremie Aliadiere for a place in the starting Arsenal line-up. However, Theo wasn't to be starring for the England national team for their friendly against Greece, as he was demoted to the Under-21s by new England manager Steve McClaren. He did though become the youngest to score for the England Under-21s with his goal against Moldova.

The season started brightly for Theo after he came off the bench at home against Aston Villa. The youngster provided the cross that eventually was put home by Gilberto Silva. It saw the Gunners draw their first match at the Emirates Stadium 1-1. Theo made another cameo appearance a few days later in the Champions' League home match against Dinamo Zagreb. He provided a low cross in the stoppage time for Matthieu Flamini to score the winner. The game ended 2-1 and saw Arsenal reach the group stages of the competition. Three days later away at Manchester City, Theo this time couldn't prevent his side losing 1-0.

Makes first full start for Arsenal on the 14th of October, when Arsenal beat Watford 3-0.
Theo Walcott debuted for Arsenal in the Premier League was against Aston Villa at the opening of the 2006/2007 season on August 19th 2006 as a substitute for now former Arsenal player Gilberto Silva assisting in a goal by a dead ball setpeice.
Walcott's debut for Arsenal in the Champions League was against Dinamo Zagreb (second leg fixture) making club history, becoming the youngest player ever for them to make an apperance in europe, breaking the club record set by Cesc Fabregas.
Immediately afer coming on he received a yellow card for kicking the ball away when the whistle had been blown. He later set up a goal making it 2 assists in 2 games. Walcott started his first home premier league game against Watford (horney hornets) on the 14th October 2006.
In 2006 Walcott received the BBC young sports personality award.
On 25th February 2007 he scored his first goal for the Gunners in the League Cup Final in Cardiff, however a double from Didier Drogba sealed the victory for Chelsea. Theo Walcott scored his first home goal for the Gunners in a truly breath-taking match in the Champions League against Slavia Prague in which Arsenal won 7-0, Walcott also made one assist on the night.
On the 23rd February 2008 Walcott scored his 1st goal in the Premier League against Birmingham City finishing the seasons campaign with a total of 7 goals from all competitions. In the 2008/2009 season Walcott was given former Arsenal Legend Thierry Henry's shirt number.
Saturday 18th October 2008 Theo Walcott grabbed his first League goal of the season against Everton FC, with the final score being 3-1 to Arsenal. On Tuesday 21st October 2008 Walcott scored a great goal for Arsenal in the Champions League away at the notorious Sukru Saracoglu stadium, hosts of Fenerbache.
Theo Walcott's England career:
Thursday 25th May 2006 was Theo's first ever introduction to the National squad coming on as a sub against Belarus for the England B team.
Tuesday 30th May 2006 history was made when Theo Walcott became the youngest player to ever play in a full internation for England as he took part in a friendly against Hungary which England won 3-1.
In the run up to the 2006 World Cup eyebrows where raised when former National coach Sven-Goran Erikkson's squad was announced with the addition of Walcott. At the time the fans were worried by the striker injury crisis, with Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney both injured.
Sven however decided to include Walcott instead of proven Premier League goalscorers, to the disgutlment of some players.
Theo Walcott never played for England in the 2006 World Cup with Sven admitting he was not ready yet to play at that level, but it would stand him well for future experience, a costly mistake as England were short of strikers at the tournament.
Tuesday 15th August 2006 was Theo Walcott's debut for the England under 21 side and he scored his first ever goal scoring after just 3 minutes in a 2–2 draw at Ipswich Town's ground Portman Road against Moldova.
In October 2006, in the qualification for the under-21 Euopean Championship, Walcott grabbed a brace against Germany in the playoff second leg.
Walcott made his first start in a World Cup qualifier on the 6th September against international minnows Andorra, and on 10th September 2008 played against Croatia, scoring a truly breath-taking hat-trick at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, making him the youngest player to score a hat-trick for England.
Pundits and experts praised Walcott for his maturity at such a young age, and beleived he was now fulfilling his massive potential.