Like most of the country, we were glued to our televisions just over a week ago watching England battle it out in the Euro final. (Well, actually, I have a confession to make; I was exactly two minutes late bringing the food through to the lounge and missed Luke Shaw’s brilliant goal!)
It was fantastic to see England in the final and dominating (at least in the first half) Italy, who have been brilliant in this tournament. When Italy scored, and the minutes ticked by, we held our breath, hoping against hope that it wouldn’t go to penalties. I always think it’s a terrible shame when any great match is decided by penalties anyway but, as we all know, penalties are also the English team’s nemesis.
At the end of the day, we lost, but the nature of a penalty shoot-out and the pressure that puts on players means that it can go either way, as France learnt earlier in the tournament.
The result, whilst disappointing, is not what matters. We should be celebrating Gareth Southgate’s diverse team, who brought England to within a whisker of winning a major tournament for the first time in my lifetime (just).
Our team showed real quality both on and off the pitch throughout the tournament and are a credit to England. Sadly, the same cannot be said of all of England’s fans. Like most of the nation, I was absolutely disgusted and appalled by the racism directed at some of the English players afterwards. I’ll be honest, some of the comments made me feel physically sick and deeply ashamed.
It’s an important reminder, for those who might complacently believe that racism is consigned to the past, how very far from the truth that idea is, and just how much more work there is to do before society becomes equitable and equal for all.
It’s not enough to privately condemn the racism that these young players have experienced; we need to be public and vocal in our support and to do whatever we can to ensure we show that #blacklivesmatter.
More than that, we need to dig deep and recognise that prejudice isn’t confined to the most vitriolic racists, it’s something we are all capable of - as The Witches of Glum, one of our most famous training exercises shows. We’re proud to provide this activity as a free sample in Trainers' Library® to anyone who wants to use it in face-to-face training (and would urge you to do so) and I’m particularly proud that The Witches of Glum has been endorsed by Show Racism the Red Card and to be supporting their work in some small way.
As a symbol of our support for our courageous penalty shooters, and our utter rejection of the racism they, in particular, have since experienced, last Monday we made a £1,000.00 donation to Show Racism the Red Card.
Co-founder and Commercial Director at Glasstap® (www.glasstap.com), the company behind Trainers' Library® (www.trainerslibrary.com) a service relied on by trainers in more than 40 countries, I retain overall responsiblity for the...