I AM not an avid football fan but like millions of people I get caught up in the euphoria that comes when England play.
Watching Gareth Southgate’s young players exceed all expectations in last year’s World Cup was one of the most enjoyable sporting experiences of my life.
Reuters Danny Rose and other black England players suffered racist abuse by Montenegro fans
The diversity of the team was something for us all to be proud of and truly representative of the rich makeup of Britain.
So it’s with a heavy heart that this week I read that, due to a lack of action against fans’ racism, Spurs and England defender Danny Rose is counting down the days to when he stops playing. This is beyond sad.
Danny should be an inspiration for future black players, just like early pioneers such as former West Bromwich Albion and England striker, the late Cyrille Regis, and Liverpool legend John Barnes, who both stood up to abuse in the 1980s.
So come on Danny, your best days are still ahead of you mate!
I want to give this talented player a much-deserved hug.
During an interview after he helped Tottenham to a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Wednesday, he rightly expressed frustration at the lack of action being taken by footballing authorities on the ugly spectre of racism in our beautiful game.
DEMONSTRATE ZERO TOLERANCE TO RACISTS
Two weeks ago England players were exposed to a barrage of racist chants from Montenegro’s fans.
The team answered this abuse by giving Montenegro a splendid 5-1 thrashing.
But that comprehensive victory hid the pain of the black players who have been absorbing racist hate — from the subtle snubs to the overt monkey chants they experienced in Montenegro.
Charges of racist behaviour have been made by Eufa but frustrated Danny said any fine would amount to: “What I probably spend on a night out in London.”
I get his point, football is a multi-billion pound industry and any sanction must reflect that . . . and demonstrate zero tolerance against racism.
Unfortunately this racist chanting has occurred many times before and without much action taken.
I suppose this is where, if you are a player like Danny on the receiving end of the abuse, you eventually get to the point of resignation.
PA:Press Association The late West Bromwich Albion and England striker Cyrille Regis was a pioneer for black players
PA:Empics Sport Liverpool legend John Barnes also stood up to abuse in the 1980s
I was brought up in the 1980s and raised by my Ghanaian immigrant parents to “just get on with it” no matter how painful some of our experiences with discrimination might be.
Back then black players like Regis and Barnes had to do just that. There were banana skins thrown on the pitch and they took it. There were a few hooligans that pretty much made the terraces a danger zone for black and Asian fans.
Fortunately those days are behind us but racism is not dead.
The high salaries of footballers means it’s often hard for us to sympathise with them. We can look at black players as being paid enough to just get on with it — but that is acting as Uefa appear to be doing and ignoring the experiences of black players.
I’m a 100 per cent in support of all the work that has been done to kick racism out of football.
But the reality for Danny and other black players is they are still often targeted when playing in certain countries and no significant action is taken.
They may even be abused by other players in this country — as was the case for Anton Ferdinand; harangued by John Terry, who subsequently continued to play for England before the football authorities found him guilty of racist abuse, though he had been cleared of the charge in court.
When retiring from playing one would think the natural progression for black footballers, after an illustrious career playing for Premier League clubs, would be a career in management.
However, at present there are just two non-white managers in the Premier League, despite many black footballers having had trophy-laden careers.
If we don’t address this, we will lose the talents and passion of current and future black players and fans.
We need to tackle both the subtle, and not so subtle, forms of racism that plague our beautiful game.
BABY DEATH MYSTERY Newborn baby found dead as girl, 15, is arrested on suspicion of murder ALL BETS ARE OFF Moment two women fight on floor and pull each other’s hair at Aintree SQUALID SECRET Woman reveals how her mum kept dead babies hidden in her wardrobe for 20yrs HOUSE ABOUT THAT Unassuming semi crowned one of UK’s best homes thanks to stunning interior DREAM ON Cracknell’s ex says his follow your dreams advice is ‘b*****ks’ as he ignored kids DEATH PLUNGE Mum ‘pushed’ from top of 8-storey London tower block as cops make arrest
It’s on all us football and non-football fans alike to demand action.
If we truly want football to come home in all its glory then we need to defend the dignity of all of our players, both home and abroad.
If not we’re just like the Montenegro officials, losing the game 5-1 and pretending we couldn’t hear the racist chanting.
Meg’s mega babyI FEEL joyful at the historical significance of Baby Sussex, who is due to arrive within weeks.
I FEEL joyful at the historical significance of Baby Sussex, who is due to arrive within weeks.
The union of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex represents the kind of inclusive future I hope becomes the norm – love beyond ethnic, cultural and class boundaries.
This is a modern, equal partnership between a woman who is a proud feminist not scared to make her voice heard, and a man who appreciates how that power enhances, not emasculates, him.
It is heart-warming to see a royal union that is a symbol of the diversity of modern Britain and the US, a symbol that will be further celebrated in the dual heritage of their baby.
In Britain, people of mixed-racial heritage are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups, so it is wonderful to have our most “British” of institutions finally reflect this.
With the uncertainty over Brexit, we will need to look for other global partners.
It will mean Britain re-establishing its Commonwealth links with former colonies in Africa and elsewhere. For this to succeed it must be a partnership of parity.
So perhaps nothing can help more to rebuild ties and heal old wounds than the inclusion of a woman of African descent within the Royal Family – and the birth of a royal who is great- grandchild to the Queen and equally the grandchild of a Black woman whose ancestors were slaves.
Danny Rose can’t wait to quit football – Tottenham and England star has ‘had enough’ of being racially abused