Arsenal legend Ian Wright has recalled how racism was rife even within his own dressing room early in his career.
Wright told an ITV documentary about racism in football that training sessions at Crystal Palace in late 1980s would often be “blacks against whites”.
The 55-year-old started his professional career at Selhurst Park and scored 90 goals in six successful seasons before moving to Highbury in 1991.
Yet his shocking revelations prove it was not always plain sailing for Wright as a young black player making his way in the game.
“When I first signed for Palace I got abuse in the changing room. It was just an accepted thing to do that,” Wright recalled.
“In training we played blacks against whites, people are flying in, flare-ups. A lot of the time the black guys won, you know. Some of the times there was friction.
“Black players had a submissive way about them, in a predominantly white environment. Somewhere along the line you’re going to be the butt of jokes.”
Wright speaks to Viv Anderson and Paul Ince regarding the fight against racism many black players experienced within the sport.
He makes a string of extraordinary admissions, including talking about how he felt he was unable to even watch England at Wembley as a black teenager and felt part of a group perceived as lacking the right attitude.
Players were also subjected to sickening terrace taunts – but Wright credits pioneers such as John Barnes as catalysts to a change in attitudes.
His two-part documentary, Out Of Their Skin , will air on ITV4 at 10pm on Tuesday, November 27 and Wednesday, November 28.
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