‘I had an entire stadium to make monkey chants … I don’t remember anyone asking how I felt after the game’: Ex-striker Emile Heskey claims NONE of his teammates supported him after he was racially abused at a Slovakia victory in 2002
- Emile Heskey claims that none of his England teammates supported him after he was racially abused in an international match against Slovakia in 2002.
- Former England striker says he had ‘an entire stadium that made monkey songs’
- Heskey says he doesn’t remember any of his teammates ‘asking me how I felt’
- England won 2-1 and Heskey was brought in late by Sven-Göran Eriksson
Former England striker Emile Heskey has claimed that none of his international teammates supported him when he was racially abused in a game against Slovakia.
The former Liverpool and Leicester player says he ‘can’t remember anyone asking me how I felt’ when an entire stadium sounded monkeys to him.
The 42-year-old, who has won 62 caps for England, claims he received no support from teammates when the abuse targeted him and Ashley Cole during the Euro 2004 qualifier in October 2002.
Emile Heskey has claimed that none of his England teammates supported him when he was racially abused in a 2002 game against Slovakia.
Heskey claims he was the subject of monkey chants during England’s 2-1 win in Bratislava
ENGLAND TEAM VERSUS 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 led the team with stars Steven Gerrard, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, as well as current England manager Gareth Southgate, for the opening qualifier in Bratislava.
England won 2-1 and despite the abuse he received, Heskey was only eliminated by manager Sven-Göran Eriksson during second half injury time.
The striker, who played in two World Cups and two European championships, said: “We had the game in Slovakia. We were racially abused there.
And I don’t remember anyone asking me, actually asking how I felt after the game. I had a whole stadium to make monkey songs.
But I don’t remember anyone ever asking me, except that the FA came to me later and wanted an explanation.
“As teammates, I don’t remember anyone ever asking me how I felt.”
Slovakia was the first to strike, but England won after two goals in the second half, one a curling free kick from Beckham who shot into the net from 35 yards untouched, and the second a header from close range from Michael Owen.
England team that night: top row (LR) Michael Owen, Jonathan Woodgate, Emile Heskey, David Seaman, Gareth Southgate, Nicky Butt. Bottom Row (LR) Ashley Cole, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes.
Beckham scored from a free kick before Michael Owen scored a dramatic late winner
On the Don’t Tell Me The Score podcast, Heskey said that racism used to be a ‘blind spot’ that people don’t talk about.
Heskey, who is married and has two children, said, “The point is, we’re turning it into a blind spot. We make sure we are not allowed to talk about it. It’s happened, we’re moving on – you can’t 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 has made more than 500 Premier League appearances, has discussed the horrific abuse he had previously suffered in Slovakia when asked about the abuse during his travels with the national team.
Heskey has played over 500 Premier League appearances, including for Liverpool and Leicester
He told The Gary Newbon Sports Show earlier this summer: ‘Obviously with England Under 21s I got it when we played Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia made it clear through what they were going through and then split up.
‘We played them and had to play in a neutral stadium, that was in Barcelona.
“It was in their reserve stadium, nice stadium but small, and you got a guy in the crowd who shouted” 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 played for England against Slovakia and Croatia.”