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Racist U's supporters slated in book

PUBLISHED: 06:05 27 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

RACIST supporters at Colchester United have been blasted by Burnley boss Stan Ternent who claims they almost forced Ian Wright to quit the game after just two matches in the Second Division.

RACIST supporters at Colchester United have been blasted by Burnley boss Stan Ternent who claims they almost forced Ian Wright to quit the game after just two matches in the Second Division.

In his autobiography Stan The Man, Ternent describes Layer Road as an "Essex fleapit" and accuses U's fans of hurling "the foulest racist abuse I'd ever heard at a football match".

Ternent was furious after former England striker Ian Wright MBE was subjected to the tirade of abuse during a Second Division game in February 2000.

Colchester United made a full and unreserved apology after the incident and have worked tirelessly to eradicate the racist problem at their ground.

Marie Partner, the U's chief executive, last night said: "At the time, the club dealt with the incident in the appropriate manner and made a full apology to Ian Wright. With that in mind, we feel it is a shame that Mr Ternent – who has a reputation for being an extremely professional manager – has to stoop to that level to sell books and we will not be drawn into making similar comments." 

It was only Wright's second game for Burnley where he joined after suffering abuse in Scotland while playing for Celtic.

Ternent described Wright's nightmare at Colchester in a passage from his book, co-written with Daily Sport editor Tony Livesey and serialised in a national Sunday newspaper

He wrote: "Whether running out for Arsenal at Wembley or for us in an Essex fleapit, with his jokes and gold-toothed smile, he gave the impression it didn't matter a damn."

He went on to describe the appalling abuse Wright suffered at Layer Road.

"Throughout each of the previous 90 minutes the Colchester crowd hurled at Wrighty the foulest racist abuse I'd ever heard at a football match.

"My face was red with shame as I stood on the touchline, powerless to stop the narrow-minded scum chanting sick songs at one of England's greatest players.

"The pride I'd felt for Ian as he ran out on to the pitch in Burnley colours rapidly became embarrassment.

"I'd persuaded him to play in a league where I believed he would be afforded dignity and respect."

He said that all the small section of racist supporters had to offer was "jealousy, bile and bitter insults based on his skin colour."

They "had had the chance to watch one of the most talented players our country has ever produced yet they chose to barrack him instead", he said.

Ternent goes on to explain how Wright called him to say he wanted to quit because of the abuse but was eventually persuaded not to by Ternent and others but only played 17 times for Burnley before packing the game in to work in the media.

It is not the first time Colchester supporters have been labelled racist, among those left unhappy at a visit to Layer Road were Luton Town supporters who complained players and fans had been targeted.

Ms Partner added: "Colchester United has one of the best records for crowd behaviour, indeed last season saw the U's have one of the lowest policing bills in the Nationwide League. Further to that, our record of just six arrests was again amongst the lowest, with none of those being for racist abuse.

"We are proud of that fact and are keen backers of the Kick Racism Out of Football scheme. In fact, our Community Sports Trust provided sporting and educational projects for thousands of local children, which cut across social, educational and racial boundaries."

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