Racists…. This one is for you:
Gary Neville’s freak own goal in 2006 meant England had to leave the Euro championships.
Joe Hart not stopping Pirlo’s penalty shootout goal that saw England miss out on a semi final place in the Euros 2012.
2006 world cup quarter final – Rooney lost his temper and got sent off. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher all missed their penalties which saw England crash out against Portugal.
Phil Neville’s dirty tackle that created a penalty in the 89th minute against Romania in the 2000 Euro group stages, meant England lost and left the Euros.
David Beckhams stupid kick and subsequent red card that left us with 10 men against Argentina, and meant he couldn’t take the winning penalty in the shootout that followed. We lost with David Batty’s penalty failing to land.
Gareth Southgate himself, against Germany, 1996 – had his penalty saved by the keeper and it meant England were sent home in the semi finals.
1990 semi finals, Paul Gasgoine was too upset about an earlier yellow card and decided not to take a penalty in the shootout against Germany. Instead, Chris Waddle took it –
And missed. Sending Germany through.
ALL of the men above..who have been in the exact same position that Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho found themselves in last night… Were white.
MEN make mistakes.
FOOTBALLERS make mistakes.
HUMANS make mistakes.
And that is what all of the racist, talentless idiots in this country, abusing certain black members of our England squad, need to remember.
They. Are. Human.
And what incredible humans at that. Rashford 23yrs is the reason many of the UK’s children got fed and weren’t starving last year, raising £20 million towards food poverty. He has launched book clubs for kids, and worked hard to highlight racial abuse.
And brought about cultural change.
Saka is barely an adult. A straight A and A* student, he is said by his teammates to be the nicest guy on the England squad. And he was brave enough to step up and take a shot that was the most pressure-filled, watched, anticipated shot since 1966. At 19 years old.
Sancho, 21, has made sure he has looked after the place he grew up in, by helping design and build a new state of the art football pitch for aspiring young footballers on the streets of London.
Some of the greatest footballers in history, have buckled under the pressure, made silly errors, or failed to land an important penalty. BLACK AND WHITE.
Stop making this about race.
And start making this about gratitude.
The gratitude and joy we have felt watching a team of professional sportsmen, from all walks of life, play some great football and lift our spirits.
A team, that united us together as a nation after a truly terrible year – helping us feel hope, respect and a deep honour to be English.
A team of lions, who have made us all incredibly, incredibly proud.
The colour of their skin has no impact whatsoever on how talented they are.
Nor how likely they are to make a mistake.
All that this will impact, is the mental and emotional health of some pretty amazing, stand up young men. And all of those who aspire to be like them.
You may not have won the match. But you have won our hearts, and we promise to make sure racism never wins. Ever.
I see strength. I see skill. I see shirts.
I see a Team.
What do you see?