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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Anderson calls for more black coaches
Viv Anderson was the first black player to represent England
Viv Anderson becomes the first black player to represent England
Viv Anderson talks exclusively to World Football's Ashish Sharma about the return of racism in football...

Twenty-five years ago this week Viv Anderson became the first black player to take the field for England.

Back then racist abuse was the norm around English league grounds, but Anderson battled through the prejudice to win thirty caps for his country in a distinguished career with Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Manchester United.

England's opponents a quarter of a century ago were Czechoslovakia and this week England played Slovakia again. But 25 years on, England played under the threat of expulsion from Euro 2004 if there was any more racist behaviour from the fans.

"It's started to rear its ugly head again" says Anderson.

"I think Uefa did the right thing making Slovakia play behind closed doors recently because although the ordinary supporter might suffer, you have to stamp down on things like this.

"And the fine was minimal really. If they are going to fine them they have to be severe. Uefa have to make a bigger stand than they have at the moment. The fine given to England was too lenient, because if England qualify and some idiots lead them to be thrown out that has to be wrong.

Anderson went on "I think the next stage is management - you don't see many black managers and coaches and I think we have to change that, particularly with the England set-up.

"I think there is a danger of getting blasť about the situation so we need to bring the issue to the fore so everyone is aware that it's not acceptable these days.

"I think football clubs are trying to their own things by punishing guilty supporters, and I think the next stage is that England do their bit.

"We have to stamp it out as soon as possible. I saw that Thierry Henry was going to walk off the pitch because of racist abuse, and no-one wins in that situation. It's not acceptable in 2003 for someone to get abuse for playing football" he said.

You can hear all of Ashish Sharma's interview with Viv Anderson on World Football on Saturday 14 June. Use the audio link on the front page.


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World Football 19 November 2005




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