Chelsea’s first black player reveals how he had no house before signing for Chelsea

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Paul Canoville is Chelsea’s first black player and he was signed by the club from Hillingdon Borough in 1981, and went on to win the Second Division title with the club in 1983–84.

The 57-year-old spent five years at Chelsea before he was sold to Reading for £60,000 in August 1986.

Paul Canoville had a rough childhood and his mother raised him and his sister June alone, as his father had no interest in raising a family. As a teenager he played truant from school and was sent to three months in borstal after he became involved in petty crime. When his mother moved in with her boyfriend in Slough in 1979 Canoville slept rough and in hostels, and at one hostel was falsely accused of rape.

In a recording done by talkSPORT, Canoville has revealed how he was homeless before signing up for Chelsea.

He said: “Just before I signed for Chelsea, I was made homeless.”

“I was living out of my neighbour’s car for three-four weeks.”

“When I was going to training, that was the only time I could get a shower.”

Canoville is now heavily invested in social works and charity.

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Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.