Scots sports producer 'in tears' after racist abuse at Ibrox and Rangers pub

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A sports producer and Rangers fan says he will not let racists win after being subjected to discriminatory abuse twice in a matter of hours during and after attending an Ibrox match.

Bobby Nwanze, 32, went to cheer on the Gers at their Scottish Cup tie with Stirling Albion on Friday January 21 – but was forced to leave after being abused by a fellow supporter in the stands.

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To make matters worse, he was then subjected to further racist comments in a Rangers bar he stopped in to watch the rest of the match.

Edinburgh Live reports that the saga upset the freelance sports producer to the extent he was left in tears in the car as he made his way back home to Edinburgh.

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Scots sports producer 'in tears' after racist abuse at Ibrox and Rangers pub
© supplied Bobby has produced sports content for the BBC

He said: “The Rangers team is relatable to me. In the past the squad was not overly diverse but when you look at the team now that has completely changed.

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“The captain Tavernier is black as is Bassey, Balogun, Aribo, Morelos, Sakala, Bacuna and Kamara. So for me I identify with them.

“To be honest, I am often apprehensive about going to any live football games because i’m worried about racism occurring there.

“But my friends Abie, John and I decided to go through for the Scottish Cup tie as we thought it would be a nice family-friendly atmosphere with it being the fourth round of the cup.

“Around 25 minutes into the game, I’m talking football with fans around me, having a good time.

“Then I see an older man waving his arms at me, he looks at me and says ‘I can’t understand a word you are saying, are you even speaking English?’

“I turned to my friends and asked if he had just said what I thought he had. After that I just felt sick and my mood completely dropped. My friends said to try to ignore him but I couldn’t.”

Upset by the abuse, Bobby and his friends left Ibrox and walked to a supporters bar around the corner from the stadium to watch the second half of the match,

which Rangers won 4-0


However, shortly after arriving Bobby claims he was targeted with racist abuse again, with punters calling him the name of the Gers forward Fashion Sakala.

He continued: “When we walked in it was as if everyone had stopped to stare at me walking to the bar – it was weird.

“We ordered some drinks and just took ourselves to a quiet corner to watch the rest of the game. That is when a middle aged man approached me.

Scots sports producer 'in tears' after racist abuse at Ibrox and Rangers pub
© Jane Barlow/PA Wire The freelance sports journalist said he couldn’t stay in Ibrox for the second half

“He said: ‘You are black, what does Fashion Sakala mean?’

“My friend asked what he said and when I repeated it they were absolutely astounded. He then continued calling me Fashion Sakala, even though I asked him to leave me alone to watch the game.

Fans often sing a chant about Sakala to the tune of Shakira tune Waka Waka – and tormented Bobby with the song as he and his friends tried to watch the game.

“He was sitting with a group of 20-30 mates and they all started singing the Fashion Sakala song at me”, he continued.

“I do not mind banter but my race is not a joke for other people’s amusement.

“The guy then sat next to me again and started to touch my arms whilst saying, ‘You’re a big boy eh, you’re always big.’

“He continued to bother me before I was stern and said to leave me alone. At that point he told me I shouldn’t be there.

“Before we finished our drinks and left, the guy went over to his friends and started acting aggressive.

“For the ten minutes this went on, everyone in the bar was watching me and not the game.

“I burst into tears when we got back to the car.”

Bobby, who has produced sports reporting for the BBC and films reports on lower-league football, said he wanted to stay and watch the rest of the game at Ibrox – but he wouldn’t put up with being racially tormented.

He added: “My friends say this shouldn’t happen but hopefully they [now] see why I don’t go to football games and why I prefer to watch games on TV, or why I am so selective about the games I go to.

Scots sports producer 'in tears' after racist abuse at Ibrox and Rangers pub
© supplied Bobby, a Rangers fan, says football is no place for racism

“Every time I go to a football game I expect it. My wife, who is also mixed race as is our son.

“Imagine I went with my son? People took their kids, it was an affordable match. Imagine explaining to my son why we are leaving the ground. That is what makes me sad.

“I’ve had people tell me that it was good, I was the bigger person in the bar but the truth is I have to be smart.

Bobby believes anti-racism education needs to be stronger and that parents and grandparents have a responsibility not to pass racist stereotypes down to their children.

He said: “The issue is the new generation are learning from the old. My kid goes to nursery and mixes with all demographics with no problem but by the time he arrives at primary and secondary school it could be different.

“And where do the kids learn that sort of behaviour from? The older generation.

“We need to get serious about punishing racial abuse. The ignorance is unbelievable at the moment and the fact that it took until last year to see the first jail sentence for racial abuse at a football match handed out says it all.

Scots sports producer 'in tears' after racist abuse at Ibrox and Rangers pub
© supplied Bobby with his uncle, human rights activist and scientist Sir Geoff Palmer

“I hope to be able to break the mould with becoming a full time sport producer, so that other people can see me succeeding and it is not seen as just a box ticking exercise.

Bobby currently works as a property assistant at Edinburgh City Council but hopes to secure a full-time career in sport producing in the near future.

He is a chair for Edinburgh City Council’s BAME network as well as being a diversity ambassador for Edinburgh South in the capital.

He is also a student of ‘Construction Built Environment’ at Heriot Watt University, where his uncle Sir Geoff Palmer became the first black professor in Scotland.

Rangers has pushed back against racism with its “Everyone Anyone” campaign, which challenges fans to be an “ambassador” for the club by being “respectful, tolerant and inclusive”.

The club says of the movement: “Our Everyone Anyone campaign represents our core values and sends a clear message of inclusion, togetherness and zero-tolerance to all forms of discrimination – on and off the pitch.

“We feel it is the responsibility of everyone associated with the club – fans, players, staff and the wider community – to help create a positive environment where our differences are celebrated, our shared bond is our love of Rangers and no one is excluded.”

The supporters bar in question was contacted for comment by the Daily Record and said they are looking into the claims.

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