George Parris: ‘The battle against racism goes on but we can win it’

I know exactly what it must have been like for Raheem Sterling

Racism in football reared its ugly head again last month during Chelsea v Man City game where a fan allegedly abused Raheem Sterling. I know exactly what it must have been like for Raheem as I heard some terrible things during my career – it’s something all black players have to deal with.

The good thing is that it is getting better – certainly in this country – and now we have more cameras at football matches, more games screened and social media, the onus isn’t always on the player to report it, as was the case with Raheem. I’m not really sure what more clubs or the FA can do. Fans who get identified for hurling racist abuse are banned and the clubs always condemn their actions.

I think it’s down to the fans. What needs to happen is that when people hear something racist near them, to challenge that person and ask them why they are saying that. I appreciate that’s easier said than done but this issue isn’t going away.

I would hope it will stop but you will never completely be able to get rid of racism in football because it’s, sadly, still part of human nature. There’s intimidating players and then there’s just been abusive. There’s a line and we all must know never to cross it.

Our January games against Brighton, Arsenal, Bournemouth and Wolves could go either way. We could play like we have at times this season and take 10 points, or we could lose them all.

We’ve already lost to all four but I do believe we are in much better shape now than we were when we played them earlier in the campaign. It could be that we secure enough points in January to ensure our survival for another season and then we can start to look up the table and pushing for a place as high as we can.

There are, of course, no easy games in the Premier League but knowing your place in the league is already secure, you can play more freely and really attack teams.

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