Chelsea’s first black player no longer critically ill after emergency surgery

Former Chelsea winger Paul Canoville’s condition has improved and he is no longer critically ill in hospital after emergency surgery.

The 58-year-old was the club’s first black player when he signed in 1981 and scored 15 goals in 103 games before retiring with a knee injury aged 25.

Canoville runs his own foundation and has been a prominent anti-racism campaigner.

“Paul is off the critical list,” said a statement from the foundation.

“He’s facing a long road to full recovery but has started that journey.”

After news of his condition was announced earlier in February, the Blues wished him a rapid recovery, saying he “holds a major place in Chelsea history”

Canoville, whose playing career also included a stint at Reading, has recovered from cancer three times.

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