(Video) Former Liverpool captain accused of racism by ex-Anfield teammate

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Liverpool have a proud history of being an inclusive and welcoming club but the name of one former captain has been tarnished by the comments of an ex-teammate.

Speaking on The Football Historian Podcast, Howard Gayle shared a harrowing story about Tommy Smith: “It was one day in training, I’ve had a shot and I was a very good striker of the ball and it hit him on the inside of his leg and he was jumping and hopping around.

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“He started calling me a black so-and-so. I just stopped, everyone stopped, I went; ‘If you ever, ever call me that again, one night when you go to bed and you go out of your room for a p**s and I’ll be there and you’ll never, ever forget that moment.’

“And he looked at me and he seen that I wasn’t messing and he seen that I done it in front of everyone, so everybody could see, so anyone else who wanted to follow his pathway – I was ready, I was ready to deal with it now.

“So, he didn’t say nothing and he kind of kept out of my way, or off my case. And I’d admired this man as a Liverpool legend in the 1974 FA Cup Final and to go into an environment where an idol is actually a bigot and a racist, I’m thinking, if this is him representing the club, what else is going on in there?”

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It’s a terrible story to have to re-live for the former striker and shows how hard it was to be a black player during this era in football and in society.

Thankfully the game has come a long way since then but the 65-year-old should never have had to make such a stern defence of himself, all because of the colour of his skin.

You can watch Gayle’s comments on Smith (from 31:32) via The Football Historian Podcast on YouTube:

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  1. It was common then for people to automatically use that kind of language, although the reaction was understandable. I doubt Tommy could have been a racist just an ordinary guy with typical, unthinking comments.

  2. Back then it was bad on both sides iam from single so I know what Howard is on about ..I doubt if he Tommy smith , was a rascist but at that time most people called black/ white / Chinese names was it right ? No it was,t but I am glad it has changed.

  3. People who say things in the heat of the moment don’t really meant them. People are too hung up on racism. I’ve been called plenty of descriptive things and I’ve called people them as well. Ginger, fat, big nose, lanky. Can all be hurtful but soon as you mention someone’s skin, they’re up in arms. Howard Gayle has always had a bit of a chip on his shoulder. And to be honest, I doubt Tommy would have been scared of him. Think Howard is trying make himself look tough. He was a bit of a quiet fella as a player. Doubt he said that to Tommy at all.

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