The Colour Of Money: Racism in Football

True BlueCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2008

Racism in football is a problem, just as it is in most societies.

Racists are typically shadowy types whose bigotry quietly sustains their own warped value systems and rarely comes out into public.

But this article is not about terrace thugs, chanting or the throwing of bananas all of which have received a lot of attention over the years.

I am writing about the racism I have seen in people who have no problem with players of any colour or race, are oblivious to the ethnicity of their neighbours - these are typically good, honest people and yet they have reacted with fury at the nationality of the new owners of my beloved club, Manchester City.

When the news was announced in 2007 that Thaksin Shinawatra was to buy the club (and so began the journey over the rocky roads of Thai politics) the first thought was, who?

Few had any idea who Shiniwatra was and indeed the majority of fans had no idea what sort of place Thailand was.

But we were happy to finally have a multi-billionaire in the boardroom. I know I was.

It didnt trake long before i noticed that the smiles on fans faces were not as broad as once they were. But what had changed.

Under the new owners we had a great manager (not my opinion but that's another article) and were making signings, this was a new City. A new era.

The fans werent happy because the new owner was, well lets be frank (a poor pun but i had to) very foreign.

I heard a complaint that 'he doesn't even speak good English', that he was 'just not like us'. Are these not the first signs of racism rearing its ugly head.

As time moved on and as the owners' problems at home became more significant the focus shifted onto the fact that Mr Shinawatra was not a 'Fit and proper person' but i personally feel that that helped mask the basic racist sentiment when it came to Mr Shinawatra.

I have previously asked the question directly to fans on a Man City newsletter "If Thaksin was white and European would you like his money more?" i was staggered to find that people basically said yes.

If an owner is white and European then his money is more welcome, is that not racism?

The problem for those same Manchester City fans is that we are now owned by Arabs, people of Middle Eastern origins and values. But they have been educated in the US and the UK and have perfect English so perhaps they are OK?