It’s fair to say that Saturday’s home defeat to Leeds United was unexpected. With City just four wins from clinching the Premier League title, it was shocking to see City rack up so many shots and only come away with one goal while conceding two.
But what was even more shocking was the vile, racist social media posts that were directed towards Raheem Sterling.
The England winger hasn’t been in the best of form recently and his play on Saturday, as with some of his other recent performances, was well below par and not what we as fans would expect. But it’s okay to criticise Sterling, as it is any other player. If someone isn’t performing to their high standard, then it is right to highlight this.
But what is not right, or okay is abusing the player for the colour of his skin.
I understand that City fans will be angry and frustrated after Saturday’s game. I too was annoyed as we threw away a golden opportunity to put one hand on the Premier League title; however, my first instinct wasn’t to jump on social media and abuse the players.
So I was absolutely horrified and disgusted by reports of some so-called ‘fans,’ who targeted Sterling and used racist language in order to abuse him. Who do these people think they are? In a world where racial tensions are extremely high, racial abuse of anyone is abhorrent at best, and anyone who can’t accept another person simply for the colour of their skin is quite frankly not welcome in society.
Just like victory, defeat is part and parcel of the game. Like all other teams, Manchester City do not have a divine right to win every solitary game. Sometimes players under-perform. It’s a fact of life so if you cannot handle that simple statistic, maybe football isn’t for you.
Taking this one step further, Manchester City fans expect this type of performance week in, week out. You should have known what you were signing up for before you nailed your colours to the City mast. You should be well aware that City don’t do normal and enjoy scaring the hell out of the supporters. If you cannot handle that, then Manchester City Football Club is not the team for you.
So, to the racists who abuse any of our players, let’s be absolutely clear:
You do not represent my club.
You do not represent the views of real fans.
You do not represent the view of society.
The only thing you represent is the language of hatred. You are not welcome at my club.
This also extends to those individuals who have abused players from other clubs.
Tottenham’s Son Heung-min was also the receiver of racist abuse following United’s win on Sunday, while Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and other United players have also been targeted in the past, as well as players from other clubs.
This behaviour has to stop.
If you want to criticise a player, then go ahead. That is your right as a supporter. But you do not have the right to abuse those players just because they have a different colour skin.
Bitter and Blue urges anyone who has seen or experienced racist behaviour to report it immediately, whether it is our club or another.
Racism is unacceptable in any forms and must be stopped.