Davide Santon has seen players reduced to tears by racism. No wonder, writes Stuart Rayner, he is so keen to nip it in the bud
OVER the course of the last 12 months or so, English football has had what Alan Pardew calls “a kick up the bottom.”
At the start of last season, you could have been forgiven for thinking racism was a dark chapter in its history, but no more.
Thanks to the efforts of Show Racism the Red Card – an organisation started on Tyneside 16 years ago at the initiative of former Newcastle United goalkeeper Shaka Hislop – the monkey chants, banana-throwing and other such Neanderthal acts which once embarrassed it seemed to have been stamped out.
They were things that happened in other countries, in domestic football and occasionally when English teams played abroad, but for us it was a pre-Premier League – and therefore in some people’s eyes pre-historical – phenomenon.
Maybe, just maybe, we had become complacent.
“There’s possibly an argument for that,” Pardew conceded after launching an educational DVD for the organisation with Newcastle players Davide Santon and Jonás Gutiérrez.
Then came the “kick up the bottom”. John Terry, Luis Suárez and even Gosforth referee Mark Clattenburg became embroiled in high-profile racism scandals.
Terry was found guilty by football but not the courts, Suárez received a lengthy ban and sooner rather than later Clattenburg will either be vindicated, or find his career as an official effectively over.
The on-field indiscretions seemed to open the floodgates off it, with morons suddenly feeling able to express their antiquated views on the terraces and in cyberspace. Shola and Sammy Ameobi, Danny Simpson and Papiss Cissé have had to endure keyboard hatred.
Newcastle have been commendably quick to get the police involved.