As part of Show Racism the Red Card’s new partnership with Renfrewshire Council, primary seven pupils from Gallowhill and Glencoats Primary Schools attended St Mirren FC on Monday 17 December for a Show Racism the Red Card educational event.
During the afternoon session Show Racism the Red Card screened their brand new anti-racism educational film, which features some of the game’s greatest players; Thierry Henry, Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Didier Drogba.
Guests on the day included St Mirren FC first team players Mo Yaqub and Thomas Reilly, ex-professional footballers and Show Racism the Red Card coaches Gary MacKay, Michael Weir and Steven Bell, along with George Adam MSP and Hugh Henry MSP. The guests spoke about their experiences of racism and sectarianism and offered advice on how to deal with, and combat, racism and sectarianism whenever it occurs.
Thomas Reilly, St Mirren FC player said:
“Thank you to Show Racism the Red Card for putting on this educational event. We have come a long way with regards to tackling racism, bu it still needs to be challenged going forward. It was great to see the pupils from Gallowhill and Glencoats Primary Schools at St Mirren Park; we hope to welcome them to the stadium for an SPL match in the near futurre.”
George Adam MSP said:
"It was great to be able to attend the 'Show Racism the Red Card' event at St Mirren Park. As a frequent visitor to St Mirren Park to watch St Mirren, I can say that racism and sectarianism is not something I hear a lot of, if at all from our fans. We have come a long way from the scenes we seen in the 70's and 80's, so all parties including the SPL, SFA and individual clubs like St Mirren should be proud of the their efforts.
“It is always great fun to go to events where school pupils are asking questions, they truly don’t hold back, but it’s great to see that they want to learn about these issues. There is so much evidence to suggest that preventative measures, like educating school children about racism and sectarianism and the problems that they cause, has a massive benefit to our community. We should always strive to prevent problems before they happen and Show Racism the Red Card work tirelessly to make this reality."
Hugh Henry, Renfrewshire South MSP, who was asked to give an impromptu speech to the children, told the young audience:
“We are all the same. It doesn’t matter where you come from, your colour or religion we should all be able to live together. You can all help make the world a better place if you take that message with you and from what I have seen today you will.”
Speaking after the event at St Mirren Park, Mr Henry, who is also Shadow Cabinet Minister for Education, said:
“I was really impressed with the responses from local school pupils. Bigotry has no place in our society and it’s clear we have a lot of enthusiastic ambassadors to take forward the message. I hope that my generation can learn from this younger generation and Show Racism the Red Card is certainly hitting the mark with this audience.”
The partnership with Renfrewshire Council involves Show Racism the Red Card’s Community Education team and ex-professional football coaches visiting Renfrewshire schools delivering important educational workshops on the subjects of anti-racism and anti-sectarianism. In addition to this a programme of Continuing Professional Development training, tackling racism and promoting race equality will be targeted at educational professionals throughout the local authority over the current school year.
Amanda Peebles, Show Racism the Red Card said:
“St Mirren FC is a great supporter of Show Racism the Red Card through their participation in our educational events with young people, their anti-racism / anti-sectarianism actions throughout our annual Fortnight of Action and participation in our annual poster campaign.
“This kind of work equips young people to deal with racist and sectarian attitudes and behaviours. The young people from Renfrewshire schools we have engaged with through our partnership are very positive about it.
“The continued invaluable support received from Local Authorities, football clubs and current and former professional footballers and managers for these events is having a tremendously positive impact on the young people attending.
“The event was a great success and we would like to thank all involved.”
Pictured above: George Adam MSP, St Mirren FC players Mo Yaqub and Thomas Reilly, Hugh Henry MSP and primary seven pupil from Glencoats Primary School.