Colchester owner and chairman Robbie Cowling hits back at fans who booed players taking the knee against Grimsby Town at the weekend.
He demands in a recently published statement that fans are not welcome if they boo players taking the knee at future matches.
A minority of the 1,000 in attendance booed when players took the knee before Saturday’s win against Grimsby Town, taking them to 9th in the League Two table.
Just like at Millwall’s game against Derby County, before the game kicked off, players took the knee in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, or as football’s governing bodies would prefer to say, the No Room For Racism campaign.
📄 Colchester United chairman Robbie Cowling has issued the following statement about Saturday’s game against Grimsby Town. 👇 #ColU
— Colchester United FC (@ColU_Official) December 7, 2020
Colchester United owner and Chairman Robbie Cowling has issued the following statement:
It was so good to welcome our fans back into our stadium on Saturday for our League Two game against Grimsby and so much about the day was perfect.
My journey into the stadium felt so much more exciting knowing other fans were making their way there too.
The amazing efforts of the staff to ensure the stadium was Covid-19 secure were finally tested and because of the brilliant compliance with the code of conduct by the fans who attended, the months of hard work and preparation worked extremely well.
Junior Tchamadeu at just 16 years and 348 days old became the youngest player to ever start a game for Colchester United and marked his debut with an excellent performance that belied his tender age and his lack of first team experience. Well done Junior and well done Steve and Hayden for being brave enough to start a young player like Junior in such an important game.
Those in attendance may have been low in numbers but that was not obvious because those that did attend got right behind the team and made plenty of noise.
Winning the game means we have gained seventeen points from our last nine league games. Considering the financial cut backs we were forced to make this season, I think that’s amazing. Dare I say it’s punching?
However, the game is not being talked about for all of the things I mentioned above but because of the ridiculous actions of a few who decided to boo our players whilst they took the knee before kick- off.
Our club supports the players and their choice to take the knee for a few seconds before every game.
Callum Harriot described the purpose of the gesture perfectly to me explaining that taking the knee dates back to early civil rights movements as a way of silently showing solidarity in support of political inequalities suffered by oppressed communities.
Those that take the knee want to highlight that all lives should be valued and should not be treated inhumanely or inferior to others just because of their race.
It is undeniable that black and other ethnic minority people are still the victims of racism, and the black footballers and staff at Colchester United feel that they are in a position of privilege that has been fought for through the blood and sweat of their ancestors.
A position that in 2020 the average black person is still not afforded.
Those taking the knee, and supporting the taking of the knee, not only shows their willingness to support the drive to eradicate racial oppression but force it to be a talking point even when it’s uncomfortable.
Undeniably, taking the knee is a fundamental catalyst in pushing the conversation and thus the necessary changes forward.
I’m sure the vast majority of Colchester United fans are supportive and want to play their part in showing they back the actions of our players.
Maybe those that booed on Saturday might now understand what this gesture means to our club and will at the very least remain silent during future games whilst the players continue to take the knee before each kick-off.
Alternatively, they should just stay away from our club because anyone that still wants to boo now that I have explained the purpose and importance of the taking of the knee is not welcome at our club.
I will be happy to refund anyone for the remaining value of their season permit if that is the reason they feel they can no longer attend our games.
It would be very disappointing if anyone does decide to boo again. Therefore, going forward I would like to make the actions of those fans who do boo the taking of the knee completely irrelevant.
For every game where the players choose to take the knee, I would like all of our fans to join me in applauding this gesture to ensure our players know we fully support them.
Footballer Callum Harriott tweeted about the incident, after fans booed Colchester United players who took the knee in a stand against racism.
— Callum Harriott (@Ckharriott) December 5, 2020
The winger said as the Colchester owner hit out at fans who booed players: “Absolutely Disappointed today! Before kick off taking the kneel in support of Black Lives Matter and hearing our crowd is BOOING. Ridiculous.”
U’s defender Tommy Smith also tweeted: “Good 3 points from the lads, enjoyed scoring my first goal for the club and to have fans back is amazing although a select few let themselves down during the kneel.”
Fans reacted as the Colchester owner hits back at fans who booed players taking the knee against Grimsby…
Really good strong statement – very well done Robbie. Couldn’t agree more.
— Ivan Macey (@ivewalmer) December 7, 2020
Well said Mr Chairman.
— Peter Reid (@reid6peter) December 7, 2020
Very well written statement by the chairman. I like how he has taken the time to reflect and choose his words the way he has.
Outstanding how he had put WHY they are taking the knee.
He has nailed it!
— Dan The Forest Man 🌳©️ (@dantheforestman) December 7, 2020
Colchester are very lucky to have such an amazing chairman 👏
— Tim Robinson (@SmokeyTimRobbo) December 7, 2020
I’m not a Colchester fan, but I think their Chairman is to be congratulated on this clear statement, as do those fans who support it. I’d like to see the same from @MillwallFC
— Rob Collins (@robcollins2016) December 7, 2020
Excellent statement. I only wish those who booed would read it in full.
Take note Millwall. That’s how you address it.
— Crippy Cooke (@CrippyCooke) December 7, 2020
See @MillwallFC, it’s not that hard
— Stuart Tyrer (@stiggyt19) December 7, 2020
My son was at the match on Saturday. He said it was a few in, what sounded like the south stand. He thoroughly enjoyed being able to get back in the stands, and watch a winning game. Thanks Col U.
— Sue Harris (Munson) (@SueHarris1968) December 7, 2020
Cracking statement from the Colchester United owner and chairman Robbie Cowling: If you feel you can’t cope with our players taking the knee, come and see me and I’ll give you the rest of your season ticket money back. https://t.co/Ejuwhz9wGe
— Darren Lewis (@MirrorDarren) December 7, 2020
Colchester football clubs chairman has come out this morning and told his supporters they are not welcome at their club if they wish to express their opinions about ‘taking the knee’; a gesture that promotes A POLITICAL PARTY that wants to end capitalism and defund the police.
— British Independence (@MoggMentum) December 7, 2020
👏 That is how you do an owners statement.
Booing at the ‘taking of the kneel’ shouldn’t happen on any football pitch. The explanation put forward by Mr Cowling, explains the reasoning behind it.
— Luke Penning (@LukePenningVGP) December 7, 2020
Ignore them Cal its a very small minority which sadly stands out when its a lower than normal crowd, well done tonight 2 worldy goals in a week and tonight got the result it deserved keep it going 👊👊
— Ben Harrison (@B_Harrison2101) December 5, 2020
Didn’t hear it myself but that’s disgusting, those fans should be ashamed of themselves. People are allowed an opinion but shouldve kept their mouthes shut and had some respect for everyone else. Hope the club can identify those fans if possible and get them out!
— TheLatestColU (@TheLatestColU) December 5, 2020