‘It was blatanty obvious’ – Sheffield Wednesday fan calls for Montenegro to be punished after England players subject to racist abuse
Sheffield Wednesday fan Paul Gregory has described the ‘disgraceful’ atmosphere in Montenegro after England players were subjected to racist abuse during last night’s European Championship qualifier.
Paul, also known as Tango, has followed England home and away for decades and had a season ticket at Hillsborough since 1979.
He was among the 8,329 fans at the Podgorica City Stadium who saw England defeat the hosts 5-1 in their second UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday.
But the match was overshadowed by racist chanting from some home fans directed at several England players, including Danny Rose.
Paul said: “I could hear it in the stands – it was disgraceful. I travel everywhere now and I’ve never known anything like it.
“It was blatanly obvious what it was. There were some lads among the England fans who were upset about it too. It’s not what you want to hear when you have travelled all that way.”
Racist chants were aimed at Doncaster-born defender Danny Rose and pitchside photographers described the abuse the England players as ‘disgusting’.
Raheem Sterling scored England's fifth goal in the 81st minute and celebrated by putting his hands to his ears, a gesture he later said was a response to the racist abuse, which was also aimed at Callum Hudson-Odoi.
In injury time Rose was booked following a strong challenge on Aleksandar Boljevic, with more racist chants aimed at the 28-year-old.
Paul, of Wolverhampton, said: “It was really unpleasant and if it was the England fans we would be absolutely slated but I don’t think playing behind closed doors is the answer.
“We had that in Croatia last year and that punishes both sets of fans, which isn’t fair.”
Paul said he thought England acted professionally and praised the work manager Gareth Southgate had done so far after leading the Three Lions to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia last year.
He added: “We went to Russia and it just seems to be getting better and better. We were at Wembley on Friday night as well and the atmosphere is coming back which we haven’t seen for a good few years.”
Uefa said ‘disciplinary proceedings’ had been opened against Montenegro with one charge for ‘racist behaviour’.
The case will be dealt with by European football's governing body on May 16.