Players' Views

Alex McLeish


Have you ever encountered racism, particularly when you were growing up in Scotland?

It’s difficult to say whether I really encountered it; you were aware of it and you would obviously hear name calling and things. I encountered it, but I never really saw it in such a bad way growing up in my home town.

I was brought up with good values in my family and I never had any time for anything like that personally. My brother, my sister and I were brought up to respect everybody, regardless of creed race or colour.

What goes through your mind and what have your emotions been like when you have witnessed racism?

I have nothing but sympathy for the person on the receiving end of it, it shouldn't happen. It is something that absolutely has to be driven out of the game, and it has been a great campaign from Show Racism the Red Card.

How important is it for people like yourself and players, as role models, to make a stand?

It’s important because we have got that profile where we can raise awareness to the full and hopefully that has an influence over people who look to football as their source of enjoyment and entertainment.

Do you think the fact that the Premier League has so many people from around the world needs to be promoted?

Absolutely, along with total respect for every single player in the Premier League – without question. It is great to see players of all nationalities performing week in week out.

Would you like to see more of the diversity you have at the training ground in the stadia?

It would be great and the principal factor for Villa is that we fill the stadium, so everyone is welcome.

For anyone who may be being bullied at school, often with a racist element to it; would you encourage them to have the confidence to come forward and tell people about it to try and stamp it out?

Of course. I think in my younger days the name calling was probably more prevalent, but you kind of grew up thinking that was the way everybody grew up. Nowadays, as we have all grown more mature and realised that everybody is equal, we have realised there is just no place for it at all.

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