David James: Anti-racism groups just try to justify existence

 

David James, one of England's most decorated black footballers, last night accused anti-racism groups of having "an agenda to keep themselves in existence".

The goalkeeper, capped 53 times by England and still playing at the age of 42 for Bournemouth in League One, added: "I think the organisations which have done so much good [combating racism] on the terraces are still employed looking for stuff to be shouted about. I think that some people have an agenda to keep themselves in existence. I struggle with the racist issue in football because as a player I don't see it. That's not because I've got my head in the sand. In the earlier days, yes, but the game's changed. It is not what it was. I don't believe it is any more racist than society is."

James did not name any organisation, but was almost certainly talking about Kick It Out, the anti-racism organisation dedicated to eradicating racism in football. He added: "There are some wonderful organisations out there which have helped football become a much more enjoyable game for everyone, from stuff in the crowd being aimed at players – that's gone, or pretty much gone. I don't hear it any more. I don't look at myself as any different from the guy who gets changed next to me, and I'm not going to fly anyone's flag in order to join some 'gang', which doesn't need to be joined."

James stressed it was right for John Terry to be punished over the racist language he directed at Anton Ferdinand, but felt the Football Association should have acted without waiting for the police investigation to be completed.

"The JT thing, it should be dealt with – if someone said that in the stand they would be ejected – but it could've been dealt with quietly and done rather than it being a six- or eight-month thing. It was allowed to fester. The governing body should have said, 'An incident has taken place, racism occurred on a football pitch.' They should have dealt with it there and then. Whether he is or isn't racist, he used language on a football field which should not have been used and that should have been dealt with."

James, who wants to become a manager and is doing his coaching courses, also said he did not believe the shortage of black managers was down to racism. "I think it is whether you are good enough. Look at Chris Hughton, he's managed three clubs and been decent, there have been others who weren't good enough."

James echoed the words in The Independent last week of Keith Curle, the manager of Notts County and one of only four black managers in the professional game. "I have not seen many ethnic players on the courses I have been on in the last two years. If you want to become a manager, then give yourself a chance. If you don't want to go on the courses, then moan about not getting jobs, well, probably the reason you haven't got a job is you haven't been on the courses."

* The number of black managers in the Football League increased by one last night when Barnet, bottom of League Two, tweeted that former Barcelona, Juventus and Netherlands midfielder Edgar Davids had become joint head coach with Mark Robson.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?