Richard Dunne claims he was called an 'Irish c***' by Chelsea fans during his playing days
Former Republic of Ireland defender Richard Dunne has claimed he was called an 'Irish c***' by a Chelsea fan during his playing career in the Premier League.
At the conclusion of a week in which Chelsea have criticised their own supporters for singing anti-Semitic chants and suspended four individuals after Raheem Sterling claimed he was racially abused at Stamford Bridge, the topic of players being abused from the stands is again being scrutinised.
Writing in his column in the Herald today, Dunne claimed to have been targeted at Stamford Bridge.
"When I played at Chelsea, I was called an “Irish c***”.
"So I can understand why there is so much talk about the Raheem Sterling incident last week and the difference between being called a “black c***” and a “Manc c***”.
"There is a difference between abusing someone over the colour of their skin and their nationality but it’s still abuse, it happens in football. And it has to stop.
"People didn’t take it seriously when I was called an Irish c*** but whoever said that had a problem with the country I came from, and that is racism. Irish players still get it a lot, James McClean gets it a lot of the time and football can’t ignore that it’s there.
"But it’s not just in football, it’s everywhere, on the street, down the pub, someone adds an adjective to talk about you because your skin colour is different or you are from another country."
Dunne believes the problem is a societal issue and education is needed.
"It’s about education, the Premier League needs to take a stand but it’s not just football, society has to be more educated about what is acceptable," he added
"You are in a dressing room with people who are from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and you all get on fine, you are a group of lads. But then you go out to play on a Saturday and someone outside of that group feels they can say anything they like to one of your team-mates, and that hurts us all.
"I can’t say that you become deaf to it but you end up being unaware of it as you can’t imagine that someone feels they can abuse your team-mate because of his nationality, that a fan of another club feels he can try to get one over on someone else by abusing them.
"Some of the things your hear are hard to take, or even understand. Maybe it’s unfair of me to pick out one club but Chelsea was where I heard it the most, there was even something so stupid as me going to take a throw-in and someone shouting ‘potato’ at me.
"It didn’t really get to me as I didn’t care about the person who said it so I moved on, but football has a problem with all this abuse and I don’t care if someone is picked out because they are black or Irish. It’s still abuse."