Anwar Uddin: In Profile
After tackling players on the pitch, former Dagenham captain embraces diversity off it by AtTheMatch
It’s been an eventful football career for Anwar Uddin, both on and off the pitch. Born in Stepney in London’s East End to a Bengali father and an English mother, Uddin came up through the youth and reserve ranks of West Ham United as captain, playing alongside the likes of Joe Cole and Michael Carrick.
Uddin’s first taste of cup glory came in the form of the FA Youth Cup, as West Ham beat Coventry City 9-0 on aggregate over two legs. Though he never made a first-team appearance for the Hammers, Uddin’s time at Upton Park would go on to pave the way for successful and groundbreaking career.
Uddin became the first person of Bangladeshi origin to play professional football in England and the milestones and accolades have come ever since. In 2007 Uddin helped Dagenham and Redbridge gain promotion into the Football League for the first time in their history after clinching the Conference title in the 2006/07 campaign.
Months later Uddin would create history once more. At the age of 25, he became the first British Asian to captain a side in the top four divi- sions when Dagenham played against Stockport County on the opening day of the 2007/08 season.
Two years later, in June 2010, Uddin joined Barnet in League Two, once again assuming the role of captaincy. When manager Martin Allen departed the club, Uddin, who holds a UEFA B coaching license, became the first British Asian to hold a coaching position in league football when he was appointed player-assistant manager in April 2011.
The experience of helping to mastermind the Bees’ escape from relegation would pave the way for Uddin to take on further managerial appointments. However Uddin’s playing career continued thereafter in non-league with Sutton United and Eastbourne Borough.
A return to where it all began came about in September 2013 when Uddin went back to West Ham in a coaching capacity with the youth team, working with the under 8s to under 12s age group. His coaching talents didn’t go unnoticed and the opportunity to reignite his assistant managerial role and work again with Terry Spillane was too good to turn down as he joined Maldon & Tiptree exactly a year later.
At the time of joining Maldon, Uddin was seven months into his new role as Diversity and Campaigns Manager for the Football Supporters’ Federation, where he proactively engages with supporters across all levels of the game, whilst working closely with anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out.
Since joining the 34-year-old has helped promote fans initiatives, brought club board members closer with their supporters and campaigns for more diversity within all departments of the game.
Having left Maldon to focus on his role at The FSF, it wasn’t long before Uddin was back in the dugout, this time with Sporting Bengal FC as he took on the first-team manager position in May 2015.
Combining the two roles to a positive effect has only enhanced Uddin’s already impressive profile that makes him a popular and well-respected figure within his community, the game and by his peers.
His hard work with The FSF hasn’t gone unnoticed and he was awarded the Behind the Scenes award at the Asian Football Awards, hosted at Wembley Stadium in November 2015.Click here to stay up to date with AtTheMatch