This has to stop. Now.

A SERIOUS allegation was made by a visiting football player at Anfield last night and as it should be it was taken seriously by the club and, vitally, the police.

The player in question, Oldham Athletic defender Tom Adeyemi, was visibly upset and angry at something that had happened towards the end of Liverpool’s 5-1 win over his side in last night’s third round tie in the Budweiser-sponsored cup. Looking at his reaction he certainly didn’t hold back from telling his team-mates, the referee and some of the Liverpool players what it was he thought he’d happened. He had to be comforted by his own team-mates and was also comforted by Liverpool players who were clearly trying to help him calm down.

By all accounts he’s as certain as he can be about what he heard and he is understood to have said what this was in a statement to Merseyside Police, namely that he was called “a black bastard” and “a black c***” by a fan on The Kop who was wearing a Luis Suárez T-shirt.

An unnamed person also told reporters they had heard one of the two insults. The Times quotes the witness as saying: “I was to the right of the Kop and the No 11 [Adeyemi] turned to walk away after a tackle. I heard a single voice shout ‘you f***ing black bastard’. He spun round with shock on his face and started pointing at the crowd from where the shout had come.”

Other witnesses confirmed that Adeyemi had been insulted but said that the insult they’d heard was “Manc bastard”.

The club issued a statement confirming that the incident was under investigation: “An incident occurred in the second half of the match which is now being investigated by both the club and the police. We will continue to work closely with the police to establish the details of what actually happened and will make a further statement in due course.”

It would take a very stupid person to say that there was no possibility of the player being mistaken, just like it would take a very stupid person to say there was no possibility of him being right. LFC and the police are trying to establish the facts; meanwhile the press and others are trying too hard to turn speculation into what they’d like the truth to be.

If one group of witness say the word in question was “black” and another group say “Manc” then clearly one group is wrong. Either group could be lying – but far more likely is that one group heard wrong. And let’s make it clear – that includes those who think it was ‘just’ “Manc bastard”.

The situation is heart-breaking. The 20-year-old lad in tears at what he thought he’d heard found it heart-breaking and so do the vast majority of Liverpool supporters. For Liverpool fans it’s heart-breaking to even be in a position of talking about this instead of celebrating a 5-1 win. And what adds to the heartbreak for Liverpool fans is that whatever the truth of the situation the whole Liverpool fanbase and the club it adores is effectively being branded as racist.

It’s heart-breaking to think that even wearing a Luis Suárez t-shirt, the way the story is being reported, is going to lead to individual supporters branded as racist.

Taking away the racial part of the allegation there are still questions to be asked about what was said. Liverpool were comfortably ahead against a team two divisions below it in the league. Oldham had played well and certainly can’t be described as dirty. Their goal wasn’t an old-fashioned FA Cup third round type of goal it was a screamer and part of the reason why Oldham could take so much pride from their performance. It had been a good night for both sides and a chance for Liverpool to put a difficult week and a difficult couple of months into the past and to move onto better times. So why was there a need to shout any abuse whatsoever at their player?

Whether he was a racist dickhead or just a dickhead he has put his foot into it big time and has a lot of explaining to do. If it was a racist remark then he won’t be welcome inside Anfield again. And if it was a group of dickheads the same applies to each of them.

The same should also apply to certain elements of the media who have continued to show their contempt for truth and did so in their reporting of last night’s incident. Too eager to go to press with something juicy they got key parts of their stories wrong and ruined the last shreds of their credibility.

If their outrage at what had been alleged was heartfelt they would have had a desire to report the truth. Instead their outrage was false and their desire was for something far from honest that does nothing but cause trouble.

And, it has to be said, that desire gets fed daily by the people who come out with stuff like “they must have been plants from [pick a club]”, or insist that someone must be lying before launching into unsubstantiated groundless abuse.

It’s time for people to start talking to each other instead of fighting. It’s time to stop accusing the wrong people of racism and time to find those who really are. It’s also time we dealt with those who use that – or other sensitive and objectionable situations – as a stick to beat their rivals with or as a means to a headline.

Whatever the outcome of this case Tom Adeyemi was upset at what he believed he’d heard and we need to make sure no player is ever left feeling like that in a game of football again.

All of us.




  1. Saydul Avatar

    Brilliant article Jim. I’m a British born Bangladeshi who has supported Liverpool since I was six. I have been to Anfield many times with friends (many of them Asian) and I have NEVER encountered racism within Liverpool/Anfield!!!

    Very rarely have I sat with people who have been abusing opposition players. Those times, that I have had the displeasure of sitting next to abusive “fans”, the abuse has never been of a racial nature.

    Every team has idiotic supporters, not just Liverpool. The case of the young Oldham player is not a LFC issue but a FOOTBALL issue. Football needs to eradicate people from the stands who shout any kind of abuse.

    I have heard many supporters on the radio state abuse is okay as long as it’s not racial….GET A GRIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. alan Avatar

    Whether black bastard or manc bastard the abuse of footballers by the opposing fans needs to stop. It does nothing but bring the glorious game and the club into disrepute. For someone to do that in light of that has happened in the last few weeks indicates either bone-headed stupidity or a proclivity to stir trouble for a club the asshat is purported to love.

  3. Nick Barnett Avatar
    Nick Barnett

    “he is understood to have said what this was in a Merseyside Police”?

    In a police? In a policeman’s ear? In a police interview room?

    Seriously, who is it that understood this, Jim? You? Presumably not, or you’d have written “he said” or “he told me”, if he did.

    “Understood” is journalists’ code for a rumour, isn’t it? I’d be glad to condemn when I see the player allege on the news or in writing, but not on a rumour, or an understanding.

    Re Luis Suarez, I held my peace until I read the 115-pages, then it became fairly obvious that the FA were right.

    1. Jim Boardman Avatar

      Error on my part, lost the words “statement to” somehow.

      As for the rest of what you say, I can see what you’re getting at but the lack of something being said on the record doesn’t always mean it’s not been said. A lot depends on who said it and who they said it to. The “said it to” person in this case wouldn’t have said it happened if he wasn’t sure about it.

    2. Dave Hassall Avatar
      Dave Hassall

      How in the world, after reading the 115 page report can you come to the conclusion that the F A were “fairly obviously” right? I read the same 115 pages and I came to the conclusion that it was “AN ABSOLUTE STICH UP OF STAGGERING PROPORTIONS”. Mistakes were made with the LFC defence, but the way it was manipulated to enable a guilty verdict to be reached was disgraceful. Talk about “a fit up”.

      1. Charlie B. Avatar

        Absolutely correct. I read a very long post on the DT website, I presume from a member of the legal profession, who dismantled the findings piece by piece. The only conclusion one could draw from his quite brilliant analysis was ‘stitch up’. I did indeed read the full report myself and I was struck by its inherent bias. I can not compete with a brilliant legal mind but it was obvious, for example, that whenever there were several interpretations of language the panel always opted for the one that put Luis in the poorest light. The panel even managed to put a negative spin on his hand gesture in the goalmouth-unbelievable. There is now evidence in the public domain that Patrice Evra is not quite the paragon of virtue
        he was made out to be, but surely we already knew that.
        As for the morons who shouted abuse at the Oldham player, the club should ban them for life, if it is proven BEYOND DOUBT-no kangaroo court at LFC, please.

  4. Joe Avatar

    It’s clearly a case for the Police to deal with now. Punish them to the full letter of the law if guilt is proven. The Police need to take a good long hard look at certain journalist also to see if they are actually stoking the fire here instead of printing facts. LFC must now invest heavily to get the best PR people available as I think they have been very naive in respect of some of their dealings. Kenny needs to stick solely to football issues from here on in – someone else needs to take on all other questions.

  5. Budgie69 Avatar

    Agree entirely with Joe.

    Liverpool will undoubtedly fully support the police in bringing this mindless idiot to justice if he can be traced irrespective of whether it was a racist insult or ‘merely’ something along the lines of ‘manc ba****d’.

    Also agree that Liverpool have let themselves down in their naive handling of the Suarez saga. Find it hard to believe that any remotely decent PR representative would have allowed LFC or Luis Suarez to put out the crassly worded statements they have done in the wake of the guilty verdict.

  6. Microraptor Avatar

    My question is this: why would anyone call Tom Adeyemi a “Manc b*stard” when the guy plays for Oldham, is on loan from Norwich City (who he has apparently played for since he was 8 years old) and when he was born — according to his Canaries bio — in Attleborough, in Norfolk…

    Oldham is about as far away from Manchester as Bolton — or are Bolton supporters now also considered “Mancs” by the geographically challenged of the Kop….

    1. Jim Boardman Avatar

      I imagine, Microraptor, that few people, including you, knew where Adeyemi was from before last night. And they probably didn’t think to check their iPhones to look at his bio before hurling abuse at him.

      If you want to stir crap up go somewhere else to do it.

      1. Charlie B. Avatar

        Jim, Oldham (?) and Bolton are both in Greater Manchester. Perhaps the moron in the Kop is better at Geography than we think. Clubs like Wigan and Bolton regularly fail to fill their stadiums possibly because some of their residents go ‘glory hunting’ to the theatre of dreams (currently nightmares ). Example, Ronnie Irani, former cricketer and now TalkSPORT presenter, was born in Leigh, raised in Bolton and supports, you guessed it, Manchester United.

  7. Joe Avatar

    Excuse me Budgie but you’re not agreeing with me at all. If you, me or anyone else was accused and stitched up in a manner like Suarez was then you would be very resentful indeed. I think LFC need good PR people, in the same way that Man UTD have had excellent PR people over the years, they have always been able to make the big stories go away, & bounce back even stronger. I thought the statements by both the Club & Suarez were excellent, if anything they should have been stronger, but Kenny should only be there to talk on football nothing else.

    1. Charlie B. Avatar

      Good response, Joe, the most irritating thing for me is that, once the Evra video came into the public domain, and it became known that he had been ‘coached’, the tide began to turn in favour of Suarez and LFC-even in the Daily Mail. Patrice Evra was getting ‘pelters’ and there were some red faced journalists out there. Then the moron(s) at Anfield last night opened the wound right up again. Please catch him/them ,Merseyside Police, and do your worst. If they put them in the stocks I would be at the front of the queue with my rotten eggs and fruit. Despicable.

  8. Billy Avatar

    As always a good article.

    Having read the claims that the comment(s) thrown at Tom Adeyemi’ refered to or included “you manc b*****d”, I’m finding it hard to understand why this would be the case when the lad was apparently born in Norwich.

    Unless of course, god forbid, we have started to breed our own versions of the lot up the East Lancs, who would class a German speaking Chinaman as a ‘Scouse b*****d’ if he ate his chips from an Echo. Unless of course his name was Mr Wooney!

    1. Marc jubb Avatar
      Marc jubb

      If it was “Manc b*****d” then it would of been a general oldham as appose to a personal thing, seeing as oldham are Mancs.

  9. Marc jubb Avatar
    Marc jubb

    Great article Jim. I don’t know what was shouted, but if it was Black B*****d then i would of hoped he would of been immediatly condemed by proper Liverpool fans sat next to or near by, this doenst mean it wasnt said, but if somebody did hear it and didnt point it out to a steward/police officr straight away then thats makes them as bad as the person shouting it. It’s giving this great club we all love so much a bad name. However if it is a case of mishearing something, then this story will just go away quickly and the truth WILL NOT be reported by the papers!

  10. Brian B Avatar
    Brian B

    This isn’t right Jim and I usually read your comments and I’m mostly in total agreement with all you say.But on this occasion I think you’ve got it wrong.

    This whole sorry saga had an inevitable outcome thanks to the F.A.’s ham-fisted 115 page report attempting to block off any chance of appeal and reconciliation.

    Unfortunately it was inevitable that people would take sides:right or wrong.

    I’m certain that there has been all sorts of abuse shouted at people from all over the place in the past and sportsmen on the public stage probably take most of it.

    The big difference is that in the past most of them have shrugged their shoulders and got on with it.But now it’s important to make a fuss about it if it is something to do with race.You’ve got to remember that cultural abuse is a way of life for us.I’m a scouser: so I pinch wheels and con the DHSS and I’m on the dole while I work al the hours God sends for cash-in-hand.

    That’s the way of the World and now people are bound to take sides.This is the can of worms that those buffoons at the F.A. opened.

    But there is just one other thing.I think LFC saw this coming and from all accounts approached ManU plc to take some sort of action to pre-empt this escalating.It was done on the quiet but who else but that shadowy figure who always seems to be lurking in the darkeness;the one and and only sir ferguson comes out and makes it public and doesn’t see any reason to calm things down.

    Just picture him rubbing his hands with glee!

  11. Jim Boardman Avatar

    No need for that “bob”. Deleting the comment.

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