‘I had a whole stadium making monkey chants… I can’t remember anyone asking how I felt after the game’: Ex-England striker Emile Heskey claims NONE of his team-mates supported him after being racially abused in a win over Slovakia back in 2002
- Emile Heskey claims none of his England team-mates supported him after he was racially abused during an international match against Slovakia in 2002
- The former England striker says he ‘had a whole stadium making monkey chants’
- Heskey says he doesn’t remember any of his team-mates ‘asking me how I felt’
- England won 2-1 and Heskey was brought off by Sven-Göran Eriksson late on
Former England striker Emile Heskey has claimed none of his international teammates supported him when he was racially abused in a game against Slovakia.
The ex-Liverpool and Leicester ace says he ‘can’t remember anyone asking me how I felt’ when an entire stadium made monkey chants towards him.
The 42 year old, who won 62 caps for England, claims he was offered no support from teammates when the abuse was aimed at him and Ashley Cole during the Euro 2004 qualifying match in October 2002.
Emile Heskey has claimed none of his England teammates supported him when he was racially abused in a game against Slovakia back in 2002
Heskey claims he was the subject of monkey chants during England’s 2-1 win in Bratislava
ENGLAND TEAM VS SLOVAKIA IN 2002
England: Seaman, Neville, Southgate, Woodgate, Cole, Beckham, Gerrard (Dyer 77), Scholes, Butt, Owen (Hargreaves 86), Heskey (Smith 90).
Subs not used: James, Mills, Ehiogu, Vassell.
Goals: Beckham 65, Owen 83.
Booked: Gerrard, Scholes.
David Beckham captained the team which included stars such as Steven Gerrard, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, as well as current England manager Gareth Southgate, for the opening qualifying match in Bratislava.
England won 2-1 and despite the abuse he received, Heskey was only brought off by manager Sven-Göran Eriksson during second-half stoppage time.
The striker, who played in two World Cups and two European Championships, said: ‘We had the Slovakia game. We were racially abused over there.
‘And I can’t remember anyone asking me, actually asking me how I felt after the game. I had a whole stadium making monkey chants.
‘But I can’t remember anyone ever asking me, apart from the FA coming to me afterwards and wanting a statement.
‘As teammates, I can’t remember anyone ever asking me how I felt.’
Slovakia had been first to strike, but England won after two second half goals, one a curling free kick from Beckham which ghosted into the net untouched from 35 yards, and the second a close-range header from Michael Owen.
England team that night: Top row (L-R) Michael Owen, Jonathan Woodgate, Emile Heskey, David Seaman, Gareth Southgate, Nicky Butt. Bottom row (L-R) Ashley Cole, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes.
Beckham scored from a free-kick before Michael Owen netted a dramatic late winner
Speaking on the Don’t Tell Me The Score podcast, Heskey said racism has previously been a ‘blind spot’ which people avoid talking about.
Heskey, who is married with two children, said: ‘The thing is, we make it a blind spot. We make it that we’re not allowed to talk about it. It’s happened, we move on – you’re not allowed to talk about that.
‘We feel so uncomfortable talking about it that we don’t talk about it at all.
‘That doesn’t happen anymore.’
Heskey, who made over 500 Premier League appearances, has discussed the horrid abuse he received in Slovakia before, when asked about the abuse on his travels with the national team
Heskey made over 500 Premier League appearances and played for Liverpool and Leicester among other clubs
He told The Gary Newbon Sports Show earlier this summer: ‘Obviously with England Under 21s I got it when we were playing Yugoslavia. Obviously Yugoslavia were going through what they were going through and then split up.
‘We played them and had to play in a neutral stadium which was in Barcelona.
‘It was at their reserve stadium, nice stadium but small, and you got a guy in the crowd shouting “Kunta Kinte, hey Kunta Kinte” every time I touched the ball. Kunta Kinte is just an African slave.
‘And then you get the monkey chants from when I was playing for England against Slovakia and Croatia.’