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Anorak | Howard Gayle and ‘Digger’ Barnes: When Liverpool FC rejected racism

Howard Gayle and ‘Digger’ Barnes: When Liverpool FC rejected racism

by | 7th, October 2016

Howard Gayle was the first black footballer to play for Liverpool. The State wanted to reward Toxteth-born Gayle for footballing whilst black and working with the anti-racism charity Kick It Out with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). But Gayle, 58, was unimpressed.

 

howard gayle liverpool

 

He explains why he rejected the gong:

If they want to be inclusive and accepting of black people around the UK and the Commonwealth, then they need to change the title of it as it’s an exclusive club being an MBE or OBE or one of those gongs.

A lot of people around the world contacted me to say they accepted my decision and that the title of MBE did rankle.

In his book 61 Minutes In Munich,  Gaytle talks about the racism that was rife in football and society. In the 1970s and 1980s, English football was infected by racism.

Gayle recalls an episode with Liverpool enforcer Tommy ‘Anfield Iron’ Smith.

Tommy tried to distract me by making nasty comments related to the colour of my skin. For a while, I somehow managed to restrain myself…

I received the ball, controlled it, and lashed a shot towards goal. Tommy Smith was on the other team and it hit him on the leg. It clearly stung and some of the other players started laughing. I had a smile on my face as well. I saw it as karma. Tommy

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Posted: 7th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Books, Liverpool, Sports Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink