Chris Kamara detailed the horrific racial abuse that saw him told to ‘go back to where he came from’ and spat at during his playing days.
The much-loved former Sky Sports pundit revealed how he was racial abused by a neighbour who lived just five doors down from him as an eight-year-old. Kammy also spoke about the sickening abuse he received from the stands during his playing days.
Kamara revealed his story of discrimination in an extract of his book, titled Kammy, serialised in the Mirror, where he has also detailed his struggles with a slurred speech condition called apraxia.
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His passage reads: “I’ll never forget the first time I encountered racism. I was eight and, as often happened, had been sent to the corner shop to buy cigarettes – ten Woodbines for Mum, 20 Full Strength Capstan for Dad. I’d just given the note to the shopkeeper – I was way too timid to ask – when a woman pushed in front of me and asked for a pint of milk and a loaf of bread.
“’I’m serving this young man here,’ the grocer pointed out. She looked at me. “His lot should go back to where they came from,” she said. “I live five doors away from you,” I thought. “I’m not from somewhere else.” The shopkeeper stood his ground: “No, no, I’m serving him.”
“She stormed out – “These Blacks shouldn’t be here.” I took the cigarettes and went home, her words still ringing in my ears. I’ve tried to blank such incidents from my mind – carrying that weight of negativity around in life isn’t useful – and have largely succeeding in doing so.”
Kamara recalled the other disgusting incidents of racial abuse he faced from the stands during his career, he wrote: “Certain other incidents stand out, like the day a banana was thrown at me at Millwall. The Den was a tough place for any visiting footballer – it could even be a tough place for their own players – but it was especially so for a young Black lad in the mid-seventies.
“I made the mistake of going over to take a throw-in and was met with a volley of abuse and monkey chants. Then, suddenly, the back of my shirt was covered in spit and a banana landed at my feet.
“I never took a throw-in at the Den again. People told me when I was a kid that I would find it hard to play football professionally because of my colour. I did it.
“People told me I would find it hard to become a manager when I retired from playing because of my colour. I did it. Then people said it would be hard for me to go into the media. I did it. Then people said it would be hard going into mainstream. I did it."
KAMMY: My Unbelievable Life by Chris Kamara is published by Macmillan on November 9, £22.
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