- Racist culture existed at Chelsea for years, according to ex-player Nathan Blake
- Former coaches Gwyn Williams and Graham Rix are accused of abusing players
- Rix didn’t join Chelsea until Blake left, who said abuse was already commonplace
Racism existed at Chelsea years before the period of alleged abuse mentioned in testimony from three youth-team members against former coaches Gwyn Williams and Graham Rix, according to one ex-player.
Former Wales international Nathan Blake, who went on to have a successful career with eight different clubs, winning 29 international caps, gave a harrowing account of the treatment he suffered as an apprentice at Stamford Bridge before leaving the club at the age of 17.
‘It was the worst period of my life,’ says Blake. ‘I couldn’t believe what was happening. Every other word was c**n or n****r.
A racist culture existed at Chelsea for years, according to former youth player Nathan Blake
Former coaches Gwyn Williams (R) and Graham Rix (L) have been accused of abusing players
‘I got it all the time in training, even when I washed the kit. Black players were a new thing to Chelsea. The only black player in the first team was Clive Wilson, and he was messed around.
‘So the racist comments carried on. There was no point me asking staff to do something about it – some of them were joining in. Just because I didn’t laugh when they told jokes about black people I was seen as having a chip on my shoulder. One member of staff even took the black players aside and told us he didn’t like our haircuts.’
Blake, now 45, revealed his heartache in an interview in the 1990s after he returned to Cardiff City.
His concerns were not further publicised at the time but the memories came flooding back after last week’s allegations about what is said to have happened at Chelsea in the 1990s, including claims that Rix threw a cup of coffee over one of the players, allegedly left another with a bloodied nose after throwing a football at him, and that he and Williams addressed players with racial slurs.
Rix did not join Chelsea until Blake left – and Blake said abuse was already commonplace
Blake went on to have a successful career – he played in the Premier League and for Wales
‘The way I was brought up if someone called you a c**n you belted them,’ said Blake. ‘A few of the people didn’t realise it hurts when you’re called a n****r – whether it’s the first time or the 101st time. I never hit anyone but there were nearly fights. I don’t regret standing up for myself. If someone calls you a n****r it is racist.’
Williams joined Chelsea in 1979 but Rix didn’t arrive until after Blake had left. The allegations surfaced 18 months ago.
In a statement on behalf of Rix and Williams, lawyer Eddie Johns said: ‘Our clients deny all and any allegations of racial or other abuse. These allegations were the subject of a thorough investigation by specialist officers of the Metropolitan Police Service [who] did not consider there was sufficient evidence even to report it to the Crown Prosecution Service.’
A statement from Chelsea said: ‘We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously. We are absolutely determined to do the right thing, to fully support those affected, assist the authorities and support their investigations.’