The 2008-09 season kicked off with the first ever Show Racism the Red Card event at Bolton Wanderers FC on Monday 22nd September. Three Wanderers first team players - Dan Shittu, Tamir Cohen and Ali Al-Habsi - came along to meet 50 young people from three local primary schools.
I am really proud of my work with Show Racism the Red Card, which has earned me a Hall of Fame award, so I was made up that the team came to Bolton and provided me with the chance to share my thoughts on - and experiences of - racism with pupils from local schools
Danny Shittu, Bolton Wanderers FC
Also taking questions from the students were SRtRC patrons Leroy Rosenior, Earl Barrett and Gary Bennett, and former Bolton and Newcastle United professional Glenn Keeley. The panel was completed by Abdul Basit, Community Cohesion Officer at Bolton who helped to organise the event, and from SRtRC Project Coordinator Ged Grebby, and Campaign Worker, Gavin Sutherland, who chaired the event.
Show Racism the Red Card goody bags were given out to everyone who attended, containing magazines, wristbands and Bolton Wanderers / SRtRC posters. At the end of the event the attendees were able to get their items autographed by the panel. First however they were treated to an exclusive preview of the new SRtRC film, which was the first time the brand new resource had been screened publicly. Ged Grebby introduced the film and the reaction from the audience seemed to be positive. It certainly fuelled some great questions from the audience during the Q&A session that followed.
BWFC had provided 5 pairs of tickets for a Wanderers fixture during the season as prizes for the panel’s favourite question and SRtRC had provided a mixture of SRtRC T-Shirts and mini footballs to go with the tickets, which the panel obligingly signed. The winners were Habib, Rabeen, Nathalie, Emily and Simon who asked the panel:
- Any advice to stop racism?
- If people are in a group why do they use racism?
- Why does racism happen?
- How can we stop racism?
- What do people who hear racism do?
Premier League TV covered the event and footage shot at the event was screened all over the world later that same week. It was excellent to work alongside Bolton Wanderers to get the campaign’s season off to such a good start. The Football in the Community Department at Bolton Wanderers operates a scheme called ‘Unity in Diversity’ which aims to unite the diverse communities of Bolton through BWFC, using the club as a vehicle to promote harmony. It was good that our campaign could link in with the Community Department in organising this event as we fully support those aims.
Show Racism the Red Card would like to thank Bolton Wanderers FC, particularly Abdul and the Community Department for hosting the event and all of the young people and players and patrons who participated, which resulted in an excellent afternoon at the Reebok Stadium.