Even though Darlington FC was going through some extremely tough times off the pitch, the club still welcomed Show Racism the Red Card back to the Darlington Arena, for the third SRtRC event in as many years.
Over 100 young people from Darlington Primary Schools were extremely excited to attend this special two-hour event, which featured an extended educational session, a screening of the SRtRC DVD and a Question and Answer session with players from the club and some of SRtRC's Honorary Patrons.
Before the event began, the whole of the audience were able to go on a tour of the stadium and see behind the scenes in the changing rooms and pitch-side at the dug-outs. On return from the tour, the event began with an education session delivered by Community Education Worker, Conrad Franks. Conrad really engaged the audience, interacting with them and getting them to participate in group discussions about racism. This was great preparation for the remainder of the day and got the young people thinking about the topic.
Following the educational session and a screening of the SRtRC DVD the young people had the opportunity to put questions to the panel which included Darlington FC players Alan White and Franz Burgmeier and SRtRC coaches and Honorary Patrons Gary Bennett, John Anderson and Dean Gordon. Alan began his career at Middlesbrough and also played for Luton and Colchester United before joining Darlington in 2007, while Franz had played in the Swiss League and in his home Country of Lichtenstein. Franz is the first player from Lichtenstein to have played in the English league. Combined with the experiences of Gary, John and Dean, the panel were able to comprehensively answer the questions from the young people.
SRtRC provided T-Shirts for the best questions of the day, which the panel were happy to sign. All of the young people were able to get the autographs of the panel members at the end of the event and, thanks to the generosity of Darlington FC, were able to take away a pair of tickets for the next home game. The event received some excellent coverage on BBC radio, with SRtRC staff and Gary, John and Dean all being interviewed about the event, as were some of the school students. SRtRC would like to thank Darlington FC for hosting the event, particularly Kevin Stonehouse for all of his help in arranging the afternoon. It was a particularly difficult week for the football club as it had been announced that they were going in to administration, and it is a testament to the club’s commitment to anti-racism that the event still went ahead.