If Gillingham FC are guilty of racist behaviour, what will the FA do about the club?

By Tony Attwood

At the end of last month it was found by an employment tribunal that Barbados international player Mark McCammon was unfairly sacked by Gillingham FC after being racially victimised.

The club then said it was “staggered” by the finding of the tribunal and suggested it would appeal.

The hearing was interesting in many ways – not least by the oddities revealed – as for example that Gillingham claim that it was agreed verbally that if Gillingham didn’t get promotion Mark McCammon’s salary would be cut by 15%.  However due to a “clerical error” that clause was not only omitted from the contract – but no one noticed it was omitted from the contract, until the race dispute.

That seems bizarre to me – and it would be interesting to note if the club has sacked its administrators for gross negligence over the error.  I have not heard that they have.

But back on the main story, as Mark McCammon’s solicitor said, “Mr McCammon raised a legitimate complaint of race discrimination, which the tribunal found that Mr Scally had discounted from the start as being without merit.   Mr Scally did not bother to investigate the complaint and ultimately dismissed him because of it.

“The employment tribunal also make clear that the club’s witnesses not only colluded in the preparation of their witness statements leading to his dismissal but also colluded in the preparation of their evidence before the employment tribunal.”

These are incredibly powerful and important findings – and ones that should bring the club to the immediate attention of both the League and the FA.  Collusion by witnesses, failure to investigate an allegation of racism when raised…  If any of this is true (and for the moment it is, because the tribunal found it to be so) then the FA and League should be acting.

Lord Herman Ouseley, chairman of Kick It Out, said: “This is a landmark ruling.  It will inevitably have implications for all clubs about the way they treat people and do not discriminate against them on the grounds of race, colour, ethnicity or anything else.”

But Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has now said the the club will appeal the decision.  

So we wait to see what happens, and note in doing so that many people say they will appeal, but actually don’t.

At this moment I don’t know if an appeal has actually been launched – if you know for sure please do let me know when the appeal was put in.

But let us ponder for a moment.  Let us suppose that the appeal  fails – a legitimate supposition since at this moment the club has been found guilty of racism.  What is the League and the FA going to do about this?  Do they just say, “oh well, the civil regulator has taken care of that one, nothing for us to do,” and let the club continue in the League?

Given the activities of the League and FA over John Terry, and other players, not to mention spectators who are involved in racist behaviour, it would be crazy – and a total slap in the face to Kick it Out – for the club to be allowed to continue playing in the League. 

As matters stand Gillingham have been found guilty of a racist act against a player – if the FA and/or League are taking actions against players who are reportedly involved in racism, surely they must also take action against clubs who are so involved.

And yet I can’t find any statute within the rules of the League or the FA which allows them to do this.  10 points off if you go into administration, but what if you are found guilty of racist activity as an institution?

Obviously if Gillingham do appeal and are found not guilty, then the matter falls for the moment, but I do hope that the League and FA will meanwhile be looking at their rules to see what they do to clubs that break the rules.

For most of its existence the FA and League have been happy to take actions against players and on occasion even directors, as individuals, but not against clubs.  When there has been match fixing in the English league (most famously when Manchester United and Liverpool colluded in fixing a match so that Man U would stay up and Chelsea go down) no action at all was taken against the clubs.

The move to deducting 10 points for administration is a step in the right direction in my view – but it needs to be followed up when clubs are found to be racist in their behaviour.

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36 Replies to “If Gillingham FC are guilty of racist behaviour, what will the FA do about the club?”

  1. Tony,

    I am not wholly certain about the correct sanctions for such crimes. However, there is one thing that this piece has helped me confirm beyond the shadow of a doubt. That is that you remain one of the most ethical commentators on line – particulary regarding football.

    Refreshing and thanks

  2. An interesting and worthy point raised. Tony, are you aware of any specific issues raised to support the claims of racism? I have only so far seen information such as ‘the black players were treated differently to white players’ but nothing specific.

  3. I think the summary of the findings of the Tribunal below show there has been an element of mis reporting in this case. As a Gills fan, I can say safely the say the Gills were trying to force McCammon’s hand to leave the Club because basically he was pants.

    1) Unfair dismissal – upheld as he was only given 1 day’s notice of his disciplinary hearing. Also as the club did not conduct a reasonable investigation into his claim for race discrimination to dismiss him for making the claim was unfair.

    2) Race victimisation by dismissal – upheld because no investigation whatsover had been made into his racism claim as Mr Scally had discounted them from the start as being without merit and not worthy of investigation

    3) Unauthorised deduction from wages – upheld as there was nothing in McCammon’s contract which provided for the reduction

    4) Race victimisation by detriment – not upheld . The three claims here were that (a) he was treated unfairly because he made the race discrimination claim on the day of the arguement with Hess, in that there was an unprovoked offer to terminate his contract, (b) threats were made to dock his wages for not turning up to training and (c) dock his wages for getting unauthorised independent medical treatment. The tribunal found that Scally had initiated negotiations to terminate McCammon’s contract before the racism claim was made and McCammon had taken an active part in these negotiations, the threat to dock wages was made before the race allegation and the medical treatment was unconnected.

    So despite some media headlines along that lines of “GFC is racist” it seems that the issue was the lack of an investigation into the racism claim when it was made (and I’m sure we can all imagine Mr Scally telling him to go away and not be stupid !!)

  4. I think the verdict of “racial victimisation” was that when Mark McCammon raised his concern of race discrimination, the club did not act on it. That was the only part of the whole verdict that had a racial tag on it. Definitely wrong by the club to not investigate Mark’s claims even if they thought there was no basis to them.

    In the actual matter of “racial discrimination” (I don’t know what the difference is exactly) the club were found not guilty.

    I believe the whole incident is really that GFC did not follow correct HR procedures in handling Mark McCammon. Seems to me it was a case of wrongful dismissal. But that isn’t controversial enough to warrant media attention. So everyone picked up the “racial” bit.

    The findings are available somewhere online. But you have to look hard to find them, as it’s not quite what was made out in the mainstream media.

  5. The findings of the tribunal:

    1) Unfair dismissal – upheld as the player was only given 1 day’s notice of his disciplinary hearing. Also as the club did not conduct a reasonable investigation into his claim for race discrimination to dismiss him for making the claim was unfair.

    2) Race victimisation by dismissal – upheld because no investigation whatsover had been made into his racism claim. The Gillingham chairman had discounted them from the start, as being without merit and not worthy of investigation

    3) Unauthorised deduction from wages – upheld as there was nothing in the players contract which provided for the reduction

    4) Race victimisation by detriment – not upheld . The three claims here were that (a) he was treated unfairly because he made the race discrimination claim on the day of the arguement with the Manager, in that there was an unprovoked offer to terminate his contract, (b) threats were made to dock his wages for not turning up to training and dock his wages for getting unauthorised independent medical treatment. The tribunal found that the chairman had initiated negotiations to terminate the players contract before the racism claim was made and the player had taken an active part in these negotiations, the threat to dock wages was made before the race allegation and the medical treatment was unconnected.

    So basically, the reason Gillingham have been labelled a racist club is because the players claims of racism weren’t investigated properly.

  6. Nice to see that the big wigs in the prem realise there is a league outside their own but you’ve missed the fact that gills have only been found guilty for not investigating his claim and not of getting rid of the player because he is black. how a club with other ethnic players at a team can be found guilty of this seems silly to me but as it is McCammon was one of the worst players to grace the Priestfild turf in a long time and was paid very hansomely to do so (oh and by grace the turf i do mean when he wasnt injured) and any club would have wanted to part ways. if he had been a white player and the club had cut ties do you honestly think there would be all these procedings etc going on?

  7. Good article.

    The FA were supposedly going to address the outcome of the recent case involving Paolo De Canio & Swindon, where, if I recall correctly, the manager was find guilty of racially abusing a black player from France, and effectively rail roaded him out of the club.

    Perhaps this case is in their in-tray, waiting to be dealt with. Who knows?

    But I agree with the general point made in the article, about the need for remedial action to be taken when clubs are found guilty of racist behaviour.

    If, at present, the football authorities don’t have anything within their specific powers to address incidents of institutional racism, then they can investigate what scope there is to take action under the Equality Act 2010.

  8. Well, the fact that he had to come into training when closer white players didn’t may be down to the fact that he could’nt get into gillingham’s first team, and was being paid a huge wage for sitting on gillingham’s bench which he was happy to do. Finally when the club is small and small funds avaliable if a key player is injured and a non-key player is injured which one to you treat first and invest the most money into, the one that will give you the most returns. Gillingham have had loads of previous black players with no issues, why would it all change now???

  9. Interesting article. As a Gillingham supporter I thought the Tribunal decision was to be expected despite our Chairman’s outburst that he found it “staggering”. The mis-handling of basic HR issues within the Club is “staggering” to many supporters and myself. Mark’s complaint(s) should have been investigated fully and decisions made internally. The fact that club’s witnesses colluded in the preparation of their witness statements and in the preparation of their evidence before the employment tribunal is itself evidence that the club failed in basic HR. Paul Scally might have saved the club in 1995 but his management since leaves a lot to be desired. Obviously I would not want the Club to be punished by not being allowed to participate in the league and I doubt that the FA have powers to do this anyway. Mark McCammon himself would possibly not want this ultimate sanction.
    Putting aside the race issue for a moment, this was a regular employment issue that was not dealt with in the correct fashion that all employees, whether black or white, expect an employer to carry out. Gillingham FC were found guilty of this, no question, but the case only made the press because of Mark’s colour and his agents briefings.
    I hope that the appeal does not go ahead and the lost wages plus any compensation awarded is the result and that Gillingham FC management personnel learn their lesson and have applicable training in HR.
    Should the incompetence of our Dubai based Chairman and that any possible racist elements and HR ignorant staff be enough to Kick Gills Out?

  10. Just shows the sorry state of this country where getting rid of a very very poor player is considered racism. Guess he complained about every other manager he worked under he was gunna win a complaint eventually!

  11. Gillingham have not been found guilty of racism. They were found guilty of not conducting a reasonable investigation into McCammon’s claim of racial discrimination. One can speculate as to the reasons for this, ranging from Mr Scally dismissing it off hand for being ridiculous to whatever accusation you fancy levying at Mr Scally or the Club.

  12. I can assure you that no matter what tribunals or any other people think we are not a racist team.if you actually bothered to find out the real reasons behind the sacking then maybe you wouldnt write such a one sided story plus why dont you worry about your own team.

  13. An interesting article that raises food for thought. However, as a Gillingham fan, here are my views.

    We have seen evidence disclosed at the Tribunal that does not look good for the club in respect of its diciplinary procedure and may back the Tribunal’s decision of “unfair” dismissal. However, at no stage have I seen any evidence that substantiates that the club is guilty of racial behaviour or victimisation towards McCammon. If someone can cite the evidence, I would be interested to hear it. Not considering a complaint of racism is one thing (and smacks of a flawed disciplinary procedure); “racist behaviour/victimisation” is another and we have seen no evidence that this occured. Given the lack of evidence presented, I can perfectly understand why the club were “staggered” by the ruling.

    Hopefully, the club will follow through its intention to appeal and get at least the “racism” aspect of the ruling overturned. In addition, if the FA were to take action, I would have thought an investigation would need to be conducted by them, and given the lack of evidence presented at the Tribunal in respect of the racism aspect, I would like to think the FA would come to a different outcome to the Tribinal’s stance. I would also point out that Gillingham FC have brought through lots of black players in the past and continue to have a number of black players in the squad presently and, in fact, signed a black player yesterday; however, most of these players have not had the poor attitude and put in so little effort for the club as McCammon (and on such a high wage). I think the club’s main problem was handling the situation poorly, which is pretty rife for our chairman, but racism? No, not for me, but either way the club’s reputation has been damaged.

  14. http://gills365.clubfans.co.uk/?mingleforumaction=viewtopic&t=112

    Could I direct you to the last few posts on this thread.

    You will note that on 3 of the 4 counts, the tribunal did not uphold the complaints.

    The one that was upheld was one based around not following expected procedure, rather than anything else.

    I believe that without exception Gillingham fans do not give any credence whatsoever to any allegations of racist intent by any member of the club.

  15. tony attwood

    i can assure you that in no manner was the player racially discriminated against – the fact is the player was lazy, arrogant, consistantly injured, and when he did occasionally play, ineffective – the club should have investitagted his complaint, yes, and failed to do so – thus giving him the ammunition he needed to lauch a wrongful dismissal case

    unfortunately he has played the race card, jumped on the bandwagon, and as a society we are so scared of being called rascist for not agreeing every time someone screams race, that we have lost all perspective and control

    the fact is this was a very poor footballer, who knew he was on his last contract and therefore wanted every penny he could get – he was offered settlements, as are many players at clubs week in, week out, but refused it as he knew he would not get another club – whereas 10 years ago clubs had the luxury or larger squads with ‘squad’ players, they are all now feeling the pinch and having to do away with such luxuries – he also had the chance to go on loan to some non-league clubs – all of which he turned down and chose to sit at home just taking the money – hardly the sign of a hungry player who wants to get himself in the window, so to speak – the only league club to take him sent him back and did not want to keep him – and he has since been released from everywhere else he has gone – the fact is gillingham are guilty at most of failing to follow some sort of HR procedure – but to suggest he was forced out becuase of race is nonsense – the player andy hessenthaler signed to replace him was adebayo akinfenwa – also black!

    the player also claimed he had to have an operation on the nhs whilst a ‘white’ player was sent for specialist treatment in dubai – the player in question was our biggest asset, a key player, player of the year, and more importantly, had suffered an inujury that not so long ago would have automatically ended your career, and as such required specialist treatment – whereas mccammon’s injuries were nowhere near as severe – so he is not even comparing like for like

    i would even suggest i tis mccammon himself who is rascist, and clearly has a chip on his shoulder

    it makes my blood boil when people such as yourself who have not been around the club regularly to know what has gone on subsequently make suhc damming comment son public forums

    mark mccammon is such a great player that no other league club came in for him – he is a striker and on a free transfer – yet still, nobody wanted him – do you accuse them of all beign rascist too? or is it perhaps because they all look at his record PRIOR to joining gillingham and see that in 10 years he managed only 200 games, has gone from club to club, never really making a mark anywhere, and even in league 2 with gillingham he struggled – this is nothing more than a has-been ex footballer who is a chancer, playing a political race card and taking an arrogant, disorganised chairman for every penny he can get, but in no way was it anything to do with race

    again – mark mccammon was signed – was injured all the time and ineffective – so the club try to offload him and bring in adebayo akinfenwa – yup – they must be rascist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. I have read the comments with much interest, and most certainly I would accept that I have not got deep inside knowledge. My information came from the BBC and the national press.

    I don’t make any claim to be able to judge the case – but as a company chairman myself I would argue that anyone running any sort of organisation who does not respond instantly and fully to any allegation of racial discrimination or sexual discrimination is being utterly stupid.

    Every employer (especially in a high profile world like football) knows that racial and sexual enquiries are explosive and that under the law companies have obligations to prove that the allegations are wrong.

    That is what the law says, whether we like it or not. And that is what everyone seems to agree the club didn’t do.

    As a result they have been found guilty of that fact – and quite what their defence in their appeal is going to be I can’t imagine.

    Which means on this basis that the club is liable to have the racist tag associated with it – and the FA and League still have a decision to make. Is there any punishment due to a club that breaks the law and fails to investigate claims of racist discrimination?

    Clearly many Gillingham fans would think not – but I have to say if the club I have supported all my life were to be found guilty of failing to investigate a claim of racial discrimination I would be utterly and totally appalled.

  17. DISCLAIMER: whoever ‘bob’ is at 10:05, whatever he/she/it has said, does not represent what I think and have represented on UA.

  18. Another Gillingham fan here.

    I can assure you that every Gillingham fan I’ve seen post about the case accepts that the way McCammon was treated was unacceptable. Appalling? Yes. Racist? No. We have been labelled a racist club as Paul Scally ignored McCammon’s claims of racism. Now whilst this is, once again, appalling, it is clearly not racially motivated.

    Also, it is not as simple as deciding to launch an appeal. As this was an employment tribunal an appeal can only be launched on a point of law – that is a mistake in the claimant’s case.

    The employment tribunal will more than likely order us to pay a large sum of money to McCammon, I think that is punishment enough AMD therefore the FA don’t need to be involved.

  19. Poor piece

    You have failed to get any FACTS prior to writing and instead take what you hear and assume that Gillingham FC are a racist club. I have been to the Emirates a number of times and witnessed amongst other things, Arshavin being referred to as a Russian ****, so i believe you have some serious issues amongst your fans as well, but i wouldn’t write an article on unfounded speculation.

    To say that Gillingham deserve a points reduction or to be kicked out the league is a disgrace, McCammon was terrible, end of, nothing to do with the colour of his skin.

    I advise getting off your high horse, stop trying to be the model PC hero that you think the world wants and report on A) Issues at the club you support and B) FACTS

    Absolute disgrace to journalism

  20. Tony – I am appalled that the club I have supported all my life have been found guilty of failing to investigate a claim of racial discrimination.

    Do I think that this makes the club I support inherently racist? No.

    Do I think that the administration of my club is fundamentally flawed? Yes.

    Do I think that certain people within the club need to look hard at themselves and question whether they would have treated an equally incompetent white player quite so badly? Yes.

    Do I think that those people are guilty of anything more than a conservative and naive outlook on matters of employment that they think do not apply to the world they inhabit? No

    There is lots wrong with our game, and recent high profile events on the pitch in the Premier League show that overt racism is still one of them. This case is not about overt racism, it has highlighted incompetence and the person on the receiving end has, quite rightly, brought this to the attention of a tribunal. My club will be financially penalised for this to address the issue with the individual.

    As has been pointed out, the case was won on the basis of failure to follow basic procedures, as an HR professional (as well as a Gills fan) this is a classic error which I regularly have to counsel management over, they seem to believe that they do not need to “waste time” over allegations which they believe have no substance. If the “victim” of such a failure to follow procedure is of a different sex, ethnic background, religion etc to the perpetrator or if they are disabled then they can use Equality legislation to enhance their claim, if not they rely on unfair dismissal

    What I am trying to say (albeit in a long winded way) is that the football club I have supported for more years than I care to remember is one which is poorly run, from what I see and hear, that puts it in the majority of professional clubs (maybe even qualifies us for promotion to the Premier League!). Nothing I have read or heard worries me that the people who run the club are any more racist than the average Daily Mail reader.

    In answer to your question “were any of the administrators” dismissed for gross negligence, I think we can say the answer is no. Does this make things worse? I don’t know, only if we are made aware of any investigations and actions short of summary dismissal can you answer that. In every company I have ever worked for such matters are entirely confidential. If no such investigation has taken place there is further evidence of incompetence, not any evidence of institutional racism.

    Maybe I should apply for a job there!

    Gillingham FC will be punished for their wrong doings, in most cases I am aware of, cases relating to football which reach the civil or criminal courts are dealt with there and there alone. Unless there are rules stating that clubs guilty of administrative incompetence suffer additional penalties from the League/FA then that should be the end of the matter

    Much of the comment I have read regarding this case has been, at best, ill-informed. The tribunal heard the full facts of the case and delivered a damning verdict. Race cases in tribunals are won and lost every day, they highlight shortcomings which any organisation should address, this is no different

  21. Dog, with a fan like you, it is no wonder you club got an unsavoury label. Couldn’t you at least read what other Gils fans have commented before you blow your capital facts nonsense? The other Gillingham fans have done a lot better to convince me that your club may have got the wrong end of the stick because of HR failure. But you haven’t helped their cause. Infact, your outburst seem to be trying to confirm that you deserve the label.

  22. tony

    you miss the point

    if our club had been found guilty and HAD IN FACT BEEN GUILTY, then i too would be appalled

    but you can prove you are open minded by investigating the ‘facts’ yourself – and you will conclude that we are not guily of anything motivated by race whatsoever

    instead of commenting with what you have heard, why not look at the other facts that of course, do not make such a good story – the actualy facts regarding the nhs operating / the ‘white/ player goign to dubai for specialist treatment – on paper to anyone yes, it would look odd, but when you actually then consider the context of the situation – the whole claim is farcical – other players have had nhs operations and not complained!

    sadly, the chairman was arrogant and obviously did not present these facts – the club is badly run, i have always said that – and as at many clubs, there is a real arrogance that flows from the top down

    sadly, the actions of an arrogant and disorganised chairman tars the whole club with the same brush

    but for to then suggest and ‘stir’ that we should be kicked out of the league, is nothing more than provocative journalism and you looking to be the next big headline

    if the same situation had happened at arsenal, you would be writing an equally controversial article to quite rightly point out what rubbish the whole thing is

    go back and look at this ‘player’s’ stats – even before hessenthaler cam back, they were awful as they were his whoel career pretty much

    offering him a 3 year deal was ridiculous, though at least the chairman, for his dues, does back his managers in the transfer market

    but did this have anything to do with race – of course not – even the chairman’s biggest critics are behind him on this one

    if it were true, they would be using it to force him out from the club

    the fact they are not, that even mccammon’s black hosuemates have not backed him, that he was replaced with a black player, that the individual complaints when put in context look ridiculous to even a layman, should tell you this case was nonsense as far as race goes

  23. It’s worth pointing out 2 things:

    – The only race related thing we have been found guilty of by the tribunal is ignoring McCammon’s claims that the then boss Andy Hessenthaler racially discriminated against him, although this is terrible business practice it is not a racist act in itself.

    – McCammon’s claims that he was threatened with having his wages docked, asked to come in in the snow and fined for having unauthorised treatment because he is black were REJECTED by the tribunal.

    I have seen a lot of sensationalist reporting claiming that GFC is a racist club when this is not true and not what the tribunal found.

  24. None of these events would of occured if Mark Stimson hadn`t been sacked from the club.
    Depressing times at Gillingham FC at the moment.
    Bring back Stimson

  25. There’s another important point here. The claim of racial discrimination largely came from Mark McCammon through the industrial tribunal case. As I understand it, the only claim beforehand came in the middle of a heated row between McCammon and Andy Hessenthaler about being asked to come into train when others weren’t. There was no written request to investigate racism only an outburst in the middle of a row. I don’t think that in these circumstances the club felt the necessity to undertake an investigation. Obviously in hindsight this was a mistake. Also I do love this premiership assumption that a club like Gillingham has a team of people that deal with our HR. Ehrr that would be our Chairman and Club Secretary then – a department of 2. Does give a slightly different perspective doesn’t it.

  26. LRV,
    You obviously don’t like your club being called racist either and letting your temper show a little, so stop trying to take the moral high ground here and point the racist finger back at Gills, thanks.

  27. The fact that we have a chairman who is arrogant is well documented even in the courts BUT your article is plainly wrong gives the wrong inferences and implies (although does not state) that the club have been found guilty of racist behaviour. Totally untrue McCammon has one his unfair dismissal case on technical breaches not on the facts.

    However as we Gills fans are a bit closer to the issue than you (ie we are likely to know more about what has happened as the club leaks info like a seive)You should know that McCammon commitment wasn’t just questioned by the Chairman or Hessenthaler the previous manager who signed him said the same things to lesser degree as well.

    McCammon also conducted his case through websites getting a 15 year old to make posts on his behalf. I know this because I know the lad who did it personally he is one of my son’s best friends at school. I said to him had he asked anyone before he did it he said no. Now I can only speculate why a grown adult would want a 15 yearold to post such things but it aint good behaviour and on its own would count a gross misconduct.

    So we know McCammon is a crap player not producing he was also the highest wage earner at Gillingham who were at the time GBP 13m in debt and with no ground on its balance sheet.

    I wonder why the Chairman and the manager would want rid of such a disruptive player? Hmmmmmmmm what would would Wenger have done oh yes he would have sold him to Wigan or Bolton because Arsenal can do that. We can’t players who leave us go to non-league or retire. We tried to sell him he refused to move (nobody else would pay what we were paying him).

    You, in line with most premier club fans (very few of you are actual supporters, do not have a clue how the lower leagues work and the trouble managers like Wenger cause us and how you steal our players for next to nothing.

    If you want a debate over clubs that should have points deducted lets have one about clubs who make it difficult for our national team to function properly eg Arsenal lets deduct 10 points from them every time they submit a dodgy doctors note or tell the player not to play because they dont want the player to play for their country. The Olympics being a prime example.

    Either do the proper investigation or don’t comment.

    Personally I think the top flight clubs in this country are appalling with their billionaire foreign owners who care nothing for our cultural game. Germany and Italy my have large clubs but none of them would ever dare interfere with the national team. Their national team comes first(Germany revised its whole youth system and imposed it on the clubs because the national team weren’t doing well enough). In our our country Arsenal Man U Chelski ManCity Liverpool and Spurs come first. That my friend is wrong and that my friend is something you should be commenting on.

  28. Completely agree that racism has no part in the modern world let alone football
    But 1 would you spend money on a wreck of a car if you had no intention of using it???
    2 surely it’s a clubs porogative whether they treat a player privately or not!
    3 what’s wrong with the nhs it’s good enough for the rest of us!!
    Saying the league should kick us out if found guilty of racism by a member of staff is ridiculous!!!
    I was taken to the north bank as a knee high but when it was developed no concessions were allowed do I take the mighty afc to court for discrimination?? I also seem to remember a certain legend by the name of Paul Merson who openly admired to taking drugs whilst playing for arsenal? This is just an example so don’t abuse me for the point but if gills were to recieve the punishment your offering should afc lose every point and trophy that Merson played a part in and be relegated from the league for harbouring a drug cheat!!!??? Plus is the term yid and Jew that I frequently hear at the gunners not a racist term???
    Up the arsenal but maybe people should look at Thier own house keeping before pointing fingers at others!
    I hope this offends nobody just adding my piece to the debate

  29. I actually had some sympathy for Tony’s misguided original piece, but his follow-up pompous comment, just makes him come across as another middle class Premier League fan, who is living in a completely different world to real football.

    “As a result they have been found guilty of that fact – and quite what their defence in their appeal is going to be I can’t imagine.”

    How can you be so dismissive when you admit to not even knowing the facts of the case in any way? You speak as if you know exactly how McCammon raised this matter and it was dismissed by GFC. Strange how the PFA or his lawyers (given he was on £2500 a week, I think he could probably afford one) were not involved in the case from the outset and his claim of racism seems to stem from a heated debate with the former manager. I think we all accept that GFC could have handled the case better, but I think what we are all saying is that any fault is at HR error and not “racist behaviour” as your initial article claims. Surely “racist behaviour” as you coin it or “racial victimisation” as the Tribunal term it is an active and knowing act of racism, not a failure to respond to a spurious (as the Tribunal itself admitted by rejecting all other counts of racism alleged by McCammon) racism claim. I would suggest that this is the basis on which GFC will appeal.

    So, in short, stop being a pompous twit, research the facts and get off of your PC high horse. Yes, our club has faults at Board level, but these are HR/admin faults (as someone else stated, we have not got a back office staff of 100s/1000s like at Arsenal), as we ourselves have experienced many times over the years at the hands of Mr Scally, but ultimately, we have been wrongly touted in the press and media as a racist club. In fact, corporate greed, commercialism and gloryhunterism, such as at big Premier League clubs like your own, are doing a lot damage to football than unfair allegations of racism at clubs like ours.

  30. @ bob. “McCammon was one of the worst players to grace the Priestfild (sic) turf” Brilliant! Your contradiction in terms is only surpassed in genius by the later disclaimer.

  31. Like Sir Barry I had a lot of time for your original post, even if it was little reliant on the sensationalist press rather than all the facts, but your follow up shows you up for the typical premier league know-it-all we all have to work with and suffer on a daily basis.

    Yes, we have issues, but they revolve around our chairman and some inept office staff, we are not an inherently racist club. Macammon was a joke, an utter turd of a footballer: lazy, greedy and useless; but he has successfully exploited a staggerringly inept back office set-up to turn things to his advantage.

    It amazes me that people who pretend to support teams from the Premier League only notice League Two exists on the back of headlines like this. It is the Premier League and its dependence on the bastard Murdochs that are the true evil and who have irrevocably damaged football in this country.

    Come on you Gills!

  32. We have a regular poster under the name “Bob” and in this comment thread we had another “bob”. I can check and can say that bob is not the same bob.
    I can check the mail address both use of course but you can also see it on the avatar that the program generates and that is linked with the mail address

  33. Mike D – I am genuinely puzzled why you write like this. If I may take your comment

    It amazes me that people who pretend to support teams from the Premier League only notice League Two exists on the back of headlines like this

    the fact is that you don’t actually know much about it – obviously we’ve not met or spoken, and although you could have checked me out on the internet, I doubt that you did this. That is not to say I expect anyone to, of course not, but then without any knowledge why say

    It amazes me that people who pretend to support teams from the Premier League

    I was born in Arsenal territory in the late 1940s, and started going to the ground with my father in the late 1950s. I’m a season ticket holder, chair of the Arsenal History Society, and author of a couple of books on Arsenal. How is that “pretend”?

    As for “only notice League Two exists on the back of headlines like this”

    Again how can you know? As it happens I also support Torquay United, after my father moved to Torquay in his retirement and we used to go and watch them together. I go and see them when I can’t get to an Arsenal match.

    Why do you make such statements?

    There seems to be a general agreement that Gillingham has made a cock-up over handling an accusation of racism – and that is incredibly stupid given the way the law works on racism. I don’t think there’s any way of getting around this.

  34. Hmm, maybe I tarred you with the same brush as the idiots in my office: one came up to me at the start of the week to ask about my racist club and it turns out he ‘supports’ Arsenal, just like the idiot from Maidstone who ‘supports’ Man Utd. I find it odd that they have an immediate comment to hand about this story but not when it comes to any of our on pitch endeavours.

    I totally agree that not taking his claim seriously in this day and age was utterly stupid, but you have completely overlooked the fact that Macammon has also caused trouble when leaving two former clubs. As a previous comment says, is the whole football league racist because they won’t employ this donkey?

    We should sue him for gaining employment under false pretenses.

  35. Nige: Trying to make my mind up for me are you? Moral high ground indeed! I follow arguments; examine people’s points (pros or cons) and make up my own mind; thank you very much. It looks to me that the Gillingham HR and indeed their owner failed to deal with an employee’s racism complaint properly. That fact is incontestible. But I cannot paint the whole club racist until I see or hear more proven evidence.

  36. LRV: Exactly, so read the evidence or turn up to a game, and make your mind up, if not, don’t label us as one and our fans. Granted the club didn’t handle this well, but because they didn’t handle it correctly doesn’t make us a racist club, if we were a racist club we wouldn’t have signed him in the first place!

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