December 7 2013 Latest news:
Story by: ROB SETCHELL, Reporter
Thursday, November 22, 2012
A SCHOOL hall was transformed into a football pitch today as legendary striker Luther Blissett taught children how to show racism the red card.
The former Watford and England hotshot paid a visit to Neale-Wade Community College, in March, to educate Year 7 students about the effects of racism.
He was joined by colleagues from the Show Racism the Red Card charity, which is aiming to hold sessions with 9,400 schoolchildren over the next two years.
Blissett, a prolific goalscorer for Watford in the 1970s and 80s, spent a season with AC Milan in 1983 after they paid £1million for his services.
He said: “When I was playing for Watford there were only four or five black players in England. Everywhere we played we would face racism.
“People would call us names and throw bananas at us. That was from the minute we stepped off the coach right up to the end of the game. It went on for years.
“It was a very difficult thing to go through as a player because back then there was nobody to complain to.
“Those attitudes and that ignorance is still around. The people who gave us that abuse will be older now and some may still have that same attitude.
“That is why education through football is so important. Racism is something which divides but sport is something that brings people together.”
Today was not the first time Blissett has been to March. He played at grounds across the Fens during a spell with Fakenham Town in 1994.
“The football we do with the children is all about teamwork,” he said. “There are different levels of ability and both girls and boys play.
“The lesson is that it doesn’t matter how good you are or where you’re from, when you’re part of a team you’ve got something to give.”
Neale-Wade Principal Jason Wing said: “We don’t have many racist incidents in school, they are very rare, but I think these sessions are about more than that.
“They teach children about racism through football, which is a fantastic way of doing it.”