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Soccer coach terry Connor tells of the dark days of racism

DIFFICULT DAYS IN THE PAST: Terry Connor

IPSWICH TOWN assistant manager Terry Connor has spoken of the racial abuse he received as a player including receiving bullets in the post as the Blues back the Kick It Out campaign.

Town’s players warmed up in T-shirts carrying the Kick It Out slogan before their February 2 game against Reading to support the campaign that over the last 22 years has playing a leading role in trying to erode discrimination from football.

“The Kick It Out campaign has made massive progress over the years,” said Connor in an interview in tonight’s matchday programme.

“Going back to my days as a player, it was difficult for black players to thrive. I can remember going to many away games and there were bananas thrown on the pitch and `monkey’ chants from the stands.

“I tried to use it to motivate me, to show people that I deserved to be out there on the park. I felt if they were racially abusing me, it was because I was doing something good for my team. There were things that happened back then though that wouldn’t be tolerated now and quite rightly so.

“I remember receiving mail from Leeds fans telling me not to wear the white shirt, even though I was born and bred in Leeds. I had bullets sent to me and the police were called on a couple of occasions.

“I was 17 when I started playing for Leeds and I just wanted to play football but it was the norm back then. I’m glad in many ways that I have been able to `represent my colour’ if I can put it that way and play my part in helping to push a lot of barriers down and make the path a lot easier for other players coming through now who probably won’t even be aware that racism existed in the game to that extent.

“There is a structure now in football – and society as well – and Kick It Out have played a big part in that happening.”

This article appears on www.kickitout.org

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