|Full name||Vincent Mark Hilaire|
|Date of birth||10 October 1959|
|Place of birth||Forest Hill, London, England|
|1982||→ San Jose Earthquakes (loan)||22||(1)|
|1989–1990||→ Stoke City (loan)||5||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Vincent Mark Hilaire (born 10 October 1959) is a retired professional footballer who played in the Football League for Crystal Palace, Luton Town, Portsmouth, Leeds United, Stoke City and Exeter City. He was one of the first established black players in English football.
Hilaire began his career with Crystal Palace as a 17-year-old in a 3–2 defeat at Lincoln City in March 1977 and rose to prominence with the side prophesied to be the "Team of the Eighties" after winning the Second Division championship title in 1978–79. He made over 255 league appearances for Crystal Palace, scoring 29 goals, and was Supporters 'Player of The Year' in 1979 and 1980. He also played one summer season in the NASL with the San Jose Earthquakes in 1982.
He joined Luton Town in July 1984 but made only six appearance before being transferred to Portsmouth a few months later in November 1984, where he made 146 appearances, scoring 25 goals. He moved to Leeds United in the summer of 1988, playing 51 games and scoring seven goals, then moved on to Stoke City in November 1989 on loan, joining them on a permanent transfer in November 1990. He later joined Exeter City in 1991 where he made 33 appearances, scoring four goals, in the 1991–92 season. He joined Southern League side Waterlooville in the summer of 1992, as joint player-manager along with his ex-Palace team-mate Billy Gilbert, but he left the club and retired from football before the end of the season, leaving Gilbert as sole player-manager. He won international caps for England Youth, B and U21, and although he was a regular contender for senior international honours, he never quite made the full England squad.
He was a professional footballer at a time when racism was rife in English football. He said about a match at Vale Park in 1976, "After about 20 minutes, the manager, then Terry Venables, told me to go and have a warm-up. I came out of the dug-out, and I started jogging around the touchline. I couldn't believe the abuse that was coming at me... animal noises and all the names you think of calling a black person. Any name under the sun. And it frightened me a bit, so I couldn't wait to get back in the dug-out. And I thought, 'Well, if this is the sort of reception I'm going to get, then I don't really want to know'".
- Sourced from Vince Hilaire profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other[A]||Total|
|Crystal Palace||1976–77||Third Division||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|San Jose Earthquakes (loan)||1982||NASL||22||1||–||–||–||22||1|
|Luton Town||1984–85||First Division||6||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||9||0|
|Leeds United||1988–89||Second Division||42||6||2||0||3||1||2||0||49||7|
|Stoke City||1989–90||Second Division||5||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||1|
|Exeter City||1991–92||Third Division||33||4||4||0||0||0||3||0||40||4|
- "Vince Hilaire". sportingheroes.net. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "Vince Hilaire". Crystal Palace FC official website. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- Oliver, Brian; Vulliamy, Ed (3 August 2003). "Up Pompey". The Observer. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "Vince Hilaire". Active Hospitality & Events. Archived from the original on 12 August 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "NASL All-time Player Register". NASL. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- Atkin, Ronald (8 October 2006). "Kick racism out of football: Very Best of role models". The Independent. Retrieved 20 July 2009.
- "Vince Hilaire, Hello Hello". Football and Music. Retrieved 11 November 2015.