Kick it Out’s head of development Troy Townsend has criticized the English fans who booed whilst the England players took a knee. He is adamant that the gesture is continued next season. A minority of the 7000-strong crowd at the Riverside Stadium was involved in the booing. This minority was soon drowned out by the cheering and clapping from the rest of the crowd. A number from the English contingent was disappointed with the gesture from the home fans.
England manager Gareth Southgate was saddened by the gesture that the players have used ever since Project Restart last season. The consensus being that some fans see it as a “political stand” rather than a racial discrimination protest.
“It’s a thing we don’t want in football in general and especially in our games,” Jack Grealish said. Bukayo Sako echoed Grealish’s sentiments and could not understand why it happened.
Townsend, one of the senior members of Kick it Out, football’s largest anti-racism organization slammed the fans who booed. He mentioned that it shows lack of appreciation for the players.
“It clearly shows there are some fans who are not interested in what the players want or the awareness that they are trying to bring to an audience,” Kick it Out’s Townsend said about the English fans that booed. “We’re just on our way to a tournament that we believe that we can win. The expectation is going to be high, and all those fans that were booing last night will want us to win it as well.”
“They are going to be celebrating Black players, they would have celebrated the goal from Bukayo Saka last night. So what are they saying, it’s okay as long as it’s on our terms? It’s okay as long as it’s what we tell you to do, not what you believe you should be doing?” he added.