Frank Soo was a true pioneer of English football representing England 9 times between 1942-1945 also playing 326 club games between 1933-1950 of which 173 were for top-flight club Stoke City where he was club captain in 1938. Frank also served in the Royal Air Force in WWII and captained the RAF football team during this period.
Born in Derbyshire in 1914 Frank had a English mother and Chinese father and is still the only British Chinese footballer ever to represent England.
Frank Soo’s legacy does not match his career achievements and as such the British Chinese community was for years denied what should have been an established role model, but recognition for Frank’s life and career has begun to gain momentum.
Through this process of re-imagination we question established histories and present alternatives that contrast with existing narratives. We question how history is constructed to obscure or even airbrush – people, events – completely out of our social reality, allowing entry only on the terms dictated by conventional norms and narratives.
This is an exploration of the identity and representation of the British Chinese community who are denied balanced representation and recognition; this silencing shapes or even denies their place in collective social and cultural history.
This work is also a personal exploration of Allan’s own identity and is partly inspired by The Wanderer: The story of Frank Soo (2016) written by author Susan Gardiner.