INIH EFFIONG has opened up about the racial abuse that left him shocked.
The Dover striker tomorrow hopes to spoil Sol Campbell’s FA Cup debut as a manager by stunning his Southend team on the Kent coast.
But less than two months ago — at Hartlepool — he was called a “black c***” and “n****r” by home fans in sickening scenes.
Monkey chants were also heard from a section of supporters during the National League game.
It was so bad his manager Andy Hessenthaler and opposite number Craig Hignett considered taking their players off the field.
Pools celebrity fan, Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling, branded the perpetrators “scum”.
Effiong said: “The fans had been giving me stick during the game, booing me and that sort of stuff.
“And I kept thinking, ‘If I score a goal, I’m going to give a little bit back.’
“So when I scored a penalty, I put one finger in front of my mouth for silence.
“At that point, I had a burger thrown at me and ended up with mayonnaise all up my arm.
“We celebrated in a huddle and I cupped my ear to the jeering fans.
“And then I got a load of racist abuse. Someone called me a black c*** and I also got called a n****r.
“It was not nice to see and all hell let loose as my team-mates and Hartlepool players confronted those fans.
“I had players from both sides coming up to me and saying how wrong it all was.
“And the two managers said if we want to walk off, they’ll support it. In football you expect to be booed by rival fans but that isn’t down to racism, it’s down to just being a player against their team.
“But Hartlepool is something I’ve never experienced in my life, it wasn’t a nice feeling to go home knowing I had just got abused because I’m black.”
Someone called me a black c*** and I also got called a n****r
Effiong on receiving racist abuse
Only in the last round of the FA Cup, Haringey’s home tie had to be abandoned after Yeovil supporters launched racial abuse at defender Coby Rowe, while keeper Valery Douglas Pajetat was reportedly spat at and hit by a bottle.
Effiong said: “Racism gets swept under the carpet and people say we play the race card. But it’s a very real thing.”
He is an Arsenal fan and idolised Campbell, who won two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and reached the Champions League final while with the Gunners. And Effiong believes Campbell deserves to be managing for a far bigger club than Southend, having had to start his managerial career with Macclesfield, who were bottom of League Two when he took over.
He said: “There is a lot of silent racism within jobs.
“If there is a black and white candidate who have the same qualifications the person likely to get that job is a white person. That’s just how it is and how it’s always been.
“Frank Lampard was a great player but he got the Derby job and is now at Chelsea, and Steven Gerrard walked straight into Rangers.
“Sol had to start at Macclesfield and now he has had to take a job at another struggling club, Southend.
“It’s not Gerrard or Lampard’s fault and I am not saying they shouldn’t have got those jobs.
“It’s just how it’s seen in the BAME community that black people get rubbish jobs, the white guys get the top jobs.
“It’s debated all the time by us BAME footballers. Just being black, not just in football but in general, there’s a consensus that there is more pressure on being a black man than a white person.
“Why are there more opportunities for a white person? Is it because black people are seen as a negative because there’s more crime in BAME communities? There is definitely some reason.”
Non-league Dover is Effiong’s FIFTEENTH club but this is his second season at the Whites and he has nine goals so far this season.
He said: “In non-league it’s not so unusual to have so many clubs.
“During most of my career, I’ve either had only one year contracts or no contracts.
“A few have run out money and not been able to afford paying me, while sometimes managers who have signed me ended up getting sacked.
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“Andy has been great for me here. I was on a one-year deal when I signed but when he took over as manager he extended it for another year.
“Southend is going to be a good one for us. It’s live on the TV, we know we’ve a good chance and it’s a great match to showcase our talents.”
Dover invited Blues mascot Sammy The Shrimp to spend the day with their Captain Crab.
A club spokesman said: “Crabs eat Shrimps — we hope the players take note!”