We visited Manchester City and got the chance to interview some squad members. Here's what James Milner had to say.
James Milner was signed by Manchester City in August 2010 the same year he was awarded PFA Young Player of the Year. James has represented England at Under 15, Under 17, Under 20 and Under 21 levels and was part of England's World Cup 2010 squad in South Africa.
We caught up with him at Manchester City's training ground in 2011, where we interviewed him for our updated version of the Show Racism the Red Card DVD, to be released later this year.
Have you ever come across any racism when you were growing up?
I think there was a bit of it here and then, more when I was fortunate enough to play for England at youth level and going to different countries. I think it was tough and a good learning curve for the players - for us to learn how to deal with it. Growing up in England I don’t think there was too much and at school I was pretty fortunate, it’s just how people are brought up and educated really.
How did your England team mates respond when the squad received this?
I think the first thing is anger and disappointment that you hear the things going on - it was during the game and when we were warming up. I think it’s obviously on their minds but everyone pulls together and it’s a learning curve. You’re all in it together, you’re a team. It’s not what you want to hear and it’s not nice, but it does still go on. I think the further we move on you hear it less and less, but it does still happen
What do you think gets done at official levels?
You see a lot of campaigns, making people more aware of it and showing people it won’t be tolerated at grounds and at football matches, in and around the game. I think the most important thing is making people know that it won’t be tolerated and slowly but surely you see it disappearing from the game.
What do you think about the work of the SRtRC campaign?
I think it’s a great campaign. It’s been around a number of years now; we see it a lot, when we have our team photos for the year, and other photo opportunities and interviews. It shows it’s massive in football, it’s good to help and make people aware that it won’t be tolerated, and the more you spread that awareness around the game, it will improve.
What advice would you give to a young person suffering from racism?
It’s important that you have support around you - talk to people for advice on how to deal with it, your friends, teachers, parents or team mates. Anyone that you’re close to. Hopefully it will improve the situation and help you deal with it a bit better.
What message would you give to the people being racist?
It’s not going to be tolerated, there’s no place in football for it. If they are in and around football, it’s a game they love as much as the rest of us - if they want to be a part of that they need to stamp it out and learn what football’s all about and that’s bringing people from different countries together and everyone doing what they love doing and that’s playing football. You see the world cup and how many people watch that and it just brings the whole world together, it’s a good thing and what you want to see.
Do you think it’s been a positive thing, playing abroad with people from different nationalities and skin colours and religions within your team?
I think so, I was fortunate enough to play for England at youth levels and with Leeds United, coming through the academy, going abroad and travelling around, playing against different teams, meeting people and seeing different cultures. It’s great and it educates you - you learn more about the world and it opens your eyes, and it’s great to bring people together as well.
Could you give us a message of tolerance towards people from different religions and cultures?
The most important thing is the football, we’re all in the sport which we love and it goes all around the world. It brings people together - whatever conflicts are going on, football always seems to bring people together. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, the colour of your skin, your religion, the most important thing is that you enjoy football; you’re watching or playing something that you love. It brings us together, that’s the biggest message I think.
Can you give us a message against bullying?
The biggest thing is you find someone you trust to talk to about it and don’t be scared to stand up to the bullies. If you need help or advice, speak to someone, because the longer it goes on, the worse it gets. Especially for younger kids I think it can damage your confidence levels, so I think the most important thing is to speak to someone as soon as it starts happening. Be the bigger person, realise you’re in the right and hopefully whoever you speak to will help you put a stop to it. You’ll come out of it as a better person and a stronger individual for going through those experiences.
Download your Manchester City poster!
We also spoke to Shaun Wright-Phillips, follow this link to read Shaun's interview.