West Ham: Footballers tell BBC School Report about tackling racism

Hammers stars hit out at racism

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West Ham footballers and officials have given their views on tackling racism in the game as part of the BBC School Report project.

Students Josh and Jack, both 13, from Chigwell School in Essex, interviewed players at the Premier League club's training ground.

They also spoke to manager Sam Allardyce and co-owner David Sullivan for a report to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Hammers striker Carlton Cole, 29, told the School Reporters: "Obviously, I have been subject to racism myself via Twitter and I got abused when I played for England Under-21s.

"I did find it offensive, but at the same time I like to see the funny side of stuff.

Josh and Jack with West Ham manager Sam Allardyce Josh and Jack with West Ham manager Sam Allardyce

"Some kids nowadays, their parents are racist. The parents influence their kids. Kids see that and it grows with them. It depends on the upbringing.

"Every club is doing as much as it can. Every club has racism in and around it. In England, I think it can be stopped."

West Ham fan Jack, who aspires to be a journalist, and pal Josh - a Tottenham supporter who would like to be a barrister - said they enjoyed the whole experience of editing 15 minutes of video material down to a five-minute package.

Jack said: "The guys say racism rarely happens these days, but it was good to get their views."

Josh added: "They all gave great answers and were very nice."

Here is a selection of other responses from West Ham players and officials on the issue of racism in football:

Jordan Spence, 22, right-back: "I think that it's rare to be on the football pitch and hear racist comments nowadays.

"I remember an incident when we were touring in Italy when we were younger and we experienced some mild racism.

"It's good that we can be leaders on that front. The Premier League is a multi-national league that is supported around the world. It needs to be something that's high on the list of priorities."

Mohamed Diame, 25, midfielder: "I was playing in Spain, and have been in France as well. I see them doing things in this country like the [Kick It Out anti-racism] shirt and the things to stop racism. I think in England they do everything they can to stop it."

Start Quote

It's like chipping away at an iceberg. I think the very best thing is when the footballers themselves stand up and make statements”

End Quote West Ham co-owner David Sullivan

Captain Kevin Nolan, 30, midfielder: "I don't agree with it [racism] whatsoever. That's totally the wrong way to go about it. We are all one, and all together in the Premier League, and long may that continue."

Mark Noble, 25, midfielder: "I think the best thing the player subject to the racism can do is [be] spurred on to play that little bit better and win the game.

"If it was me, I would go and celebrate in front of their fans that were doing it."

Manager Sam Allardyce: "There's no doubt that it's got a lot, lot better over my career.

"In my playing days, there was racism both on and off the field quite often at that time.

"I think they [campaigners Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red card] do a fantastic job. We as a football club just don't tolerate it."

Co-owner David Sullivan: "To the public, it's not acceptable.

"It's like chipping away at an iceberg. Anything is better than nothing. I think the very best thing is when the footballers themselves stand up and make statements.

"We had a very big event recently in support of the Holocaust Memorial Day where we had survivors who were introduced to the crowd on screen."

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