Chelsea fan accused of racially abusing Raheem Sterling claims he said 'Manc c***'
The Chelsea fan accused of abusing Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has denied the insults were racist in nature.
Chelsea announced on Monday they had suspended four people from attending their matches, pending further investigations following the incident during Saturday's match at Stamford Bridge.
That included the fan who was thought to have subjected Sterling to the worst abuse.
Sterling was targeted by supporters as he went to take in a throw in and is thought to have told police he did hear a racist slur.
Last night the fan in question was identified as 60-year-old Colin Wing from Beckenham.
“I’m deeply ashamed by my own behaviour and I feel really bad,” he told the Daily Mail.
“But I didn’t call him a black c---, I called him a Manc c---.
"I offer him an unreserved apology. Even if it wasn’t racist, it’s not right what I said. Even the swearing is bad – but I got carried away.
"I was completely out of order, but I’ve lost my job and my season ticket now so everybody’s got what they wanted. So why can’t they leave me alone?"
Wing added that he has been going to Chelsea for 50 years and because of where he sits in the stadium gets "pick up on the cameras most weeks".
He says that if he had a history of this sort of behaviour he would have been caught by now.
Chelsea have said they will issue severe sanctions if it is proved some of their fans racially abused Sterling.
The London club have also said they will support any criminal prosecutions.
A statement published on Chelsea's official website read: "Chelsea Football Club has suspended four people from attending Chelsea matches pending further investigations into allegations regarding the behaviour of supporters towards Raheem Sterling during our match against Manchester City.
"Our investigations into this matter are ongoing. We are fully supporting the police investigation and any information we gather will be passed on to them.
"Chelsea Football Club finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour abhorrent and if there is evidence of ticket holders taking part in any racist behaviour, the club will issue severe sanctions, including bans. We will also fully support any criminal prosecutions."
The Professional Footballers' Association said on Monday that it stood "shoulder to shoulder" with Sterling and believes he is singled out for negative media coverage.
Sterling responded to the incident on social media by accusing the British press of helping to "fuel racism" by their portrayal of young, black footballers.
The PFA has been in contact with the England international to offer support and praised the restraint he showed at Stamford Bridge.
"Raheem has made a stand by speaking out and we stand shoulder to shoulder with him against the discrimination of which he speaks," said Simone Pound, the PFA's head of equality and diversity, in a statement.
"We all have a part to play in tackling racism and discrimination and certain sectors of the media must be held to account."
The statement added: "We have been aware for a few months of the targeting Raheem faces in the press, it is evident that he is often singled out and treated more harshly than his colleagues.
"As such, these stories are fuelling racism within the game, as reports of racist abuse continue to rise."
The Metropolitan Police are also investigating the incident, while the Football Association has said it will work with the clubs and other authorities to ensure the matter is dealt with appropriately.