Patron Sol Campbell speaks about our campaign in exclusive Guardian Interview
Sachin Nakrani conducted the interview with Sol and thanks to Sachin we are able to reproduced some of the other questions he asked but The Guardian were unable to print:
How long you been involved with Show Racism the Red Card?
"Since 2000, so quite near the beginning. Chris Hughton got me involved when I was still at Spurs."
What's your role with the campaign?
"I've had a lot of football commitments over the years but always help out when I can. Show racism the red card, it's a fantastic campaign, which has a lot of hard-working people behind it to keep it going.
There's a lot of good people involved now, luthur blissett, a fantastic guy, a fantastic footballer, I know he has put a lot of his time into the campaign. Shaka Hislop is another. It's a fantastic thing for 35/40-year-old footballers to get involved in, it's a great campaign that can only go from strength to strength. I think there's about 15 ex-footballers now involved in it, which is great. I was part of it as a young lad, even then I knew it was important."
Has racism lessened in English football from the time you started playing, in the early 1990s?
"When I first started playing you'd hear racist chanting at every ground you visited but because of the way 'Show Racism' has got players, clubs and fans to back their cause over the years, that is hardly the case any more. certainly in the Premier League. You still hear the odd chant lower down the leagues, and in that sense racism has not been completely eradicated, but it's rare and mostly down to a small, brainless minority. That is largely down to the attitude of club, players, but also supporters for not allowing this to fester, boil over in the stands during games. There is still a minority of people who harbour these type of feelings in their head and their heart but can't do it anymore because times have moved on, they can't get away with shouting, chanting the sort of stuff they used to do because the majority [of fans] don't want it around them anymore. It's just not acceptable."
Do you feel that Show Racism the Red Card had played an integral part in that?
"Absolutely, they've been fantastic. Quite soon, Doreen Lawrence is going to be inducted into their hall of fame at a ceremony in parliament, that shows parliament and the government has really woken up to what these guys are doing. What's important now is that they keep it going, keep their finger on the pulse, don't let all the effort slip and let a gap open through which the chanting and other things can start up again. People have got to realise that this is an ongoing campaign, by no way has it been completed."
What have been Show Racism the Red Card's key initiatives?
"I'd say the PR, having a visual presence at every single Premier League ground and other grounds in the lower divisions. Getting former and current players involved has also been key, you need people to show they're behind a campaign like this, and those of us involved most definitely are. You still hear certain things, mainly at lower league clubs, and it's embarrassing, you can't believe it, and that shows the problem is not over, but 'Show Racism' have been fantastic so far in their efforts, brilliant. You really do need campaigns like this."
How important has the involvement of players been in the campaign?
"Every now and again the players might do a photo call, something like that, helping out up and down the country. It can be difficult, though, someone might be playing a Champions League game somewhere across Europe and so cannot give up their time, but all the players involved understand the importance of Show Racism the Red Card' and get involved when they can, and those who aren't playing anymore, and have time on their hands, get involved a lot more. But it certainly helps having players involved, even if its just to be in a photocall, or give a soundbite."
Could you tell us about your experience of the SRtRC School Competition Awards Ceremony?
"At Newcastle [May 3rd 2011], that was fantastic. They got kids from up and down the country, far and wide. I was so impressed by them, what they had done really took me back. These kids had put together fantastic films [supporting show racism the red card], which were shown at the ceremony, they were so articulate, I couldn't believe it. These kids were 13,14,15 and they had edited their own films, done the music for them, incredible. I think one or two of the winning films are going to be used in 'show racism' actual campaigns, that's how good some of them were. Punchy, powerful messages."