Racism in football

By Pararealist

There is racism in football, and also in all other areas of society, but although they are related, we are going to concentrate on racism in football.

First let me do a little preamble.

I know some people are easily offended by honest discussions of prejudice and race. There are those who confuse the terms “racism” and “prejudice.” Some believe the terms are interchangeable. I do not think it is.

The difference is that racism = prejudice + power. A lot of people have prejudices but not everyone has the power to transform that prejudice into a stimulus that can affect jobs, economics, education and housing.

From a purely sociological definition, prejudice is having an assumption about a person, group, place, thing, food, etc. without an experience to justify that assumption; hence, to “pre-judge” something.

We ALL have prejudices.

When the prejudice is by people with power or in a position of power, whether political, economic or otherwise, and they use that power to cause a part of society to fail, then this is the area where racism comes into play. What do I care if one calls me names? But if one part of society is hindered in making a life for oneself, in doing what one envisages, then to me, at least, that is the thing I call racism. Even if name calling causes me some discomfort, it will most likely not affect my livelihood.

To most people, racism is an “ism” much like Catholicism, Communism etc.

Look at the definition for “ism”.

noun informal derogatory

noun: ism; plural noun: isms

a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement.

“he loathed isms and any form of dogma”.

Although there are many words, over 800, that end in “ism”, not all of them, as far as i can see can be attributed to a system or political ideology.

Because the most damaging racism in the world is practiced by a system or political idealogy, this tends to cause those most affected, to be wary of “isms”. Let me give an example.

To call someone a blackie, a honky, a kraut or any of the many derogatory names available is not racism, it is prejudice. None of the terms will affect the livelihood of the person(s) affected on a long term basis, especially not like racism does.

Look what racism has done in our world. African Holocaust, Jewish holocaust, Irish holocaust to mention just a few, have been directed by an organism, fed to whole societies, which is today more subtly done than in the past.

Just these three alone have cause an almost extinction scenario of the peoples affected, and in case you did not know, many of them continue to do so.

To deliberately denigrate, humiliate and torture one part of society is racism.

To deliberately cause anger and hatred to be taught in societies against one part of that society is racism.

To prevent members of one society from having the same opportunities as the others, thereby holding them back from achieving is racism.

This is where we come to football.

Because football is also a business and a money making part of society, the racism we are talking about is rampant in football.

It’s about not letting one part of society be able to fulfil their dreams and aspirations to the fullest, while allowing another part to fully realise their ambitions.

Now as far as i am concerned, the racism in football among the fans is non-existent. The frustration of losing can cause some to be prejudiced and hurl expletives at others, especially if the others are perceived differently by the frustrated. These people who do  that, are a result of the subtle brainwashing and depictions in the media of the “different” peoples. Many have taken this into their sub consciousness and are sometimes even surprised at their own outburst.

Those who are not susceptible to the programming, or who do not watch or listen to media 24/7, are usually appalled at what they see happening in football, and indeed in many other areas of society, but they also end up being powerless to stop it. The media is under control by certain persons who, for their own nefarious purposes project division of peoples in all areas of society. It is not just in football, it is across the board. They divide us into groups and play one off against the other.

Usually these groups are a natural result of people’s choices and are completely non-threatening against one another. For example football. Ok there may be a little mudslinging and such, but no one really wants to go to war. Those in control use these diverse groups of individuality to stoke up conflict and keep it in the mind’s eye of the people, and they have a very good tool to do it. The media. This is why seeming unrelated events all have a common origin. It is a practice of those in control to infiltrate “good” organisations or buy them out and change them.

For example, a favourite trick, say in a football game is to have people there to do just that, create a racist type scenario. These people then infect others who are high on the game and whatever other substances they drink or use, causing a media wide story. This trick is/has been used in demonstrations and many other such events.

This is what we fight against. Be aware that all is not what it seems, especially when the media is reporting it.

This goes for ALL aspects of our life on planet Earth. If you think I’m not all there, then just study the history of our planet, and do not just take the media’s version.

There are many who have fought back and written books, spoken out, many have been killed or neutralised when families are threatened, but be warned, it is a dangerous game, and you have to be not afraid of dying for the truth in order to make the world a place where you would want your families to live peacefully in.

In researching this piece, I googled “which UK football team has had the most black strikers”.

There are a few  disturbing links, at least to me:

From 2011


from 2014


from 2015


Arsenal, as we supporters know is one of the teams who do have/have had many black players. I do sometimes wonder if this is the cause for the animosity of Arsenal over the years, but that would be another topic to research.


This article was send to us. If you want to write an article and want to see it published on Untold Arsenal you can send it to Tony at the general email address that you can find at the main page of this site. But as Tony is away this week you can send it to my mail address walterbroeckx@hotmail.com this week.

25 Replies to “Racism in football”

  1. Thanks Pararealist for this article. A nice light one on a sunny morning 😉
    Seriously some very interesting thoughts in this article.

    To focus on football if my memory is correct I think WBA was one of the first teams who had more black players in their team than any other team before. Cunningham, Batson and Regis I think?

    And if our English-mad match commentator didn’t lie to us in Belgium he said at the time that the “prejudice” of many people in those days was that black people wouldn’t be able to play for the whole 90 minutes in English top football. That was in the late 70ties. Luckily times have changed a bit since then… and thoughts…

    Now I must say that I never have watched at the colour of the skin of our players. They can be white, brown, black, yellow, blue, green, orange,… as long as they carry our colours I love them. The same goes for disliking players from other teams. I don’t dislike them for the colour of their skin. I dislike them for the colour of their shirt. And that should be it for any decent human being.

  2. You raise an interesting question at the very end. Clearly part of the anti-arsenal sentiment in the British media is due to Wenger being French. It is amazing how often this is pointed out. And there is a deep anti-french prejudice in the English! Then add that many of the French players at Arsenal have been black compounds the negativity.

    But I am not sure that I agree that racism is different then prejudice. The powerful often use the latent prejudice of the population to manipulate them. Hitler in Germany did this and various politicians in America have done this. But that does not let those manipulated off the hook. Their prejudice is wrong and they are responsible for it and for how they demonstrate it, even if it is just in a bit of name calling!

  3. Mark, i get you. I did not grow up with any predujices at all(they came later) and it would be good if no one had any. I was nearly 14/15 before i realised that people lie, to your face, sometimes in fun.

    For example though, hating Spuds is a predujice, and it takes me a little effort to actually write a “hateful” comment on spuds, although i can distinguish that it is in fun(it is isn’t it?).

  4. Thanks a very interesting read………..as for the LInks!…….I like to think our club is NOT racist

  5. interesting read Para, thank you. I’m not sure the line between prejudice and racism is quite as distinct as you draw it and I would throw in something else: racialism (which is the main stay of the far right in England and elsewhere). When i first encountered racists at Arsenal it was in the late 1970s with the rise of the National Front. These people wanted to repatriate our black and Asian communities, aligned themselves with Hitler, were anti-Semitic and abused black players on the pitch. Within that you have prejudice, racism and racialism all rolled into one.

    I would agree that today MOST terrace ‘racism’ is actually prejudice and a part of the unpleasant rhetoric of football fandom: we hate the opposition. So Terry got jeered as a ‘racist’ on Sunday by people that also denigrate Spurs as ‘Yids’. The North Bank no longer sings songs about gassing Jews (but it did in the 70s) but we haven’t completely cleaned up our act.

    Personally I don’t think the presence over the years of lots of black players in the Arsenal squad has anything to do with anti-Arsenal prejudice. As Tony has written many time so on the History site this sentiment has a much older origin. No one hates Palace, or WBA for example and they (as Walter notes) have a long history of employing black footballers. The real issue is (as your infer) is with power however: whilst they are plenty of black players there are very few black managers anywhere (not even in Africa!). The misconception that black men can’t operate in positions of authority which pervades society in general applies directly to football and its time something was done about it (i.e the US’s Rooney rule).

    I hope that we might yet have a black manager in the next decade and that he is French as well, and a former striker of ours to boot!

  6. para,

    While I commend your effort on writing this article, I must say that I find it a little underwhelming. As a black African immigrant living in predominantly white UK, discussion of racism is something that I am really interested in and I applaud you for being brave enough to write about it.

    The content of the write up is a little thin for me and I don’t quite agree with your definition of racism. I also find your link to football rather stretched and unsubstantiated. I find the last bit most frustrating because there substantial issues of racism in football.

    Anyway, as I don’t want to be guilty of what I have often had issues with in comments on my own articles, I will let things be as they are and put together my own take on the topic as I have often asked commenters who strongly disagree with my articles to do.

    Of all things that people can be accused of, I am most wary of being accused of hypocrisy. I will now leave this thread, focus on my work and hopefully have something for publication in a couple of days.

  7. Very interesting read Para. It is a shame we were not quite able to beat on Sunday the club I associate more than any other with racism and prejudice. Of course most of the fans , players, and officials currently and recently at that club are clearly not racists, though the skipper has a case to at least answer, but as a fan back in the 70s and 80s they shared problems with many other clubs, but they were something else.maybe I need to let these memories go, but not so easy with what I witnessed tolerated.

  8. I think the problem with racist name calling is that it becomes accepted and the norm and so it spreads a demeaning and divisive version of people. I liked it when Arsene Wenger said people shouldn’t be judged on what they look like. It exposes the superficial nature of racist judgments.

    Unfortunately powerful people are fully willing to use racism and other forms of mindless prejudice to divide us. Also to divert people’s attention from what those powerful people themselves are up to.

    So day after day in the newspapers there are articles about ‘immigrants’ and how harmful they are. These articles influence people’s thinking. This is despite the fact that Britain like most of the countries of the world has been made up over the centuries of wave after wave of immigrants.

    And despite the fact that the people in power are more than happy to use people from other countries as cheap labour, which is another thing that has happened again and again over the centuries. That is the real motivation, in my opinion, for the regulations on the free movement of labour in the European Community. But the danger is in blaming people who are only looking for a better life for themselves and their families – which, by the way, they do not necessarily find when they arrive in Britain.

  9. One of the benefits that I get from being away and handing the site over to Walter is that I get to see the articles like everyone else – when they are published. It shows me Untold as the world sees it, and when I do it’s always a pleasant surprise how the site can jump from one issue to another and still maintain the brief “football news from an Arsenal perspective”

    The prejudice related issue that has baffled me in the last few years is that while my friends and I can have our prejudice against Tottenham and other rivals, behind that there is the knowledge that who you support is mostly a matter of chance – who your family supported, where you lived, who you first saw on TV, who was doing well when you started to support.

    So there is of course nothing different about a Tottenham supporter per se, he/she just chose a different route.

    But I constantly meet people who actually seem to have inside themselves a belief that Tottenham fans (or Chelsea fans or fans of any club) are inherently different – and indeed worse – than Arsenal fans.

    Chelsea might have more racists on board than we have, but that does not make the majority of Chelsea fans racist or any different from our fans, does it?

    And yet many articulate, well educated people genuinely seem to believe that is the case, and that if Chelsea fans were decent honourable people, they would leave their club and move on to supporting another.

    Of course that’s not racism at all, but it is a belief system that has a link to the belief that you can judge a person by the colour of his skin.

    It is the whole instant judgement thing that is at the heart of the problem – you can’t judge a person by colour, by accent, by the colour of one’s hair, by country of origin or by anything else. Only by what he/she actually does.

    In short: judge me by what I do, not what you think I might do given the way I look.

    And yet that belief that you can judge by appearance and background, is everywhere.

    I’m reminded of Tony Adams’ comment on hearing that Arsene Wenger had got the Arsenal manager’s job.

    “He’s French,” said our captain, “what does he know about English football?”

    Quite a lot as it turned out.

    Tony (PS It’s chucking it down in Prague, a fact which leaves me to draw no conclusions whatsoever, other than the fact that as a result of getting soaked I’ve returned to my hotel, and used a spare hour to secure my cup final ticket So no prejudice against the Czech’s or their weather).

  10. That’s an interesting comment on the notion that black players couldn’t cope with the physical side of the game, very much the opposite of what people say these days ( you can always hear a commentator refer to a black player as ‘naturally athletic’).

  11. DS

    That the takes into the area of racism’s lesser (but still unpleasant) cousin racial stereotyping. How often do you ever hear of a non black player being admired as “naturally athletic”. I tell you it’s a minefield.

  12. DR,

    I still remember that I was baffled by what our match commentator said at the time. But according to his words that was the perception in those days in England. But if he lied at that moment in time, I am lying now. But I still remember him saying it. It was in a European cup match that was televised in Belgium in those days.

  13. DR
    Sorry got your name wrong, Should have read: that then takes us into the area of racism’s etc

  14. I think there can be racism at the fields by some subset of the fans, and away from the fields (such as cyberspace). The issuing of death threats, and the throwing of missiles at players. I remember talking to a person who long ago supported Crystal Palace, who used to talk about darts being thrown at games. These are much more likely to cause injury than coins. But the worst for me is the throwing of bananas and its response. A player (steward, …) should never touch a banana throw onto the field, let alone eat some of it. It is too easy to adulterate the banana, possibly with the goal of killing the player.

  15. @Bootoomee
    I did consider much more regarding football, but it is a very touchy subject for most people, and i read through it at least 5 times in order not to be offensive to anyone on Untold.
    I just hope some of the points make people think a little deeper, and others are of course free to write their own, which can only be a good thing.
    I know that people are not born with racism tendencies ingrained in them, it all gets taught. My objective was also to show that football is not a separate entity, racism in the world is an organised thing permeating all aspects of society.

  16. prejudice is not the same as fans of one team not liking another team, or at least it should not be. There is good natured teasing between fans but this is not the same thing as prejudice.

  17. One of the great things about Arsenal is the AW attitude and leadership on this subject – he does not care what passport a player carries – the important factor is footballing ability.

    The world would be a much better place if everyone everyone followed this example and looked at ability rather than race, creed, religion, color etc.

  18. It is so simple,

    We are all born, with no control over our parentage? or ancestors?

    Africa, is the birthplace of the human species?

  19. I decided to visit the bbc muppet log after Hull defeated Liverpool. And I see this:

    > “You lose Luis Suarez, in particular his goals and then you have Sturridge not playing nowhere near enough. Look at the selection tonight, Balotelli. Goodness things are desperate if they are relying on that mis-fit Italian.”

    There is no need for the BBC to end that sentence with “Italian”. Balotelli is a mis-fit. Full stop.

    A 13 year old ball boy at the Rotherham game (go Martinez!) was hurt in a collision with a player.

  20. Para – I’m glad you at least tried to differentiate the prejudice from the racist. I am prejudiced against the PGMO because of the Riley presence. It is difficult to pinpoint racism as it is stealthy in its manifestation. There is racism in all walks of life as there is a lack of education in cultural understanding. In football the racism is prevalent in the less regulated leagues. Unfortunately some of it stems from the officiating which is under the FA umbrella. The officiating must be transparent in its entirety – from entry through qualification to appointments. There must be visible democratic processes in the whole FA.

    I have learnt not to be shy of my opinion & I shoot from the hip. Those who criticise me are obviously impacted by my view.

    Bootomee – I admire your comments and your clear expression.

  21. The attitude on this site toward the PGMO is not prejudice, it is based on evaluation and proper judgement. Prejudice is based on nothing but feeling. It is a decision before the evidence is evaluation.

  22. On a lighter note – Right or wrong – you decide – the student you received 0 marks on his paper .

    Midterm exam paper:

    Q1.. In which battle did Napoleon die?

    * his last battle

    Q2.. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?

    * at the bottom of the page

    Q3.. River Ravi flows in which state?

    * liquid

    Q4.. What is the main reason for divorce?

    * marriage

    Q5.. What is the main reason for failure?

    * exams

    Q6.. What can you never eat for breakfast?

    * Lunch & dinner

    Q7.. What looks like half an apple?

    * The other half

    Q8.. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?

    * Wet

    Q9.. How can a man go eight days without sleeping ?

    * No problem, he sleeps at night.

    Q10. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?

    * You will never find an elephant that has one hand.

    Q11. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have?

    * Very large hands

    Q12. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?

    *No time at all, the wall is already built.

    Q13. How can u drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?

    *Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack.

    I would have given him 100%! Each answer is absolutely grammatically correct, and funny too. The teacher had no sense of humor.

  23. Brickfields – It is not just humour but the old ‘thinking outside the box’. This example of Q & A is thinking like the box!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *