A Leeds United fan has called on his fellow supporters to stand up to bigotry after coming face to face with the ugly side of the beautiful game.
Ranbir Singh was shocked and upset by “horrendous” racist abuse hurled at black home players by a man sitting near him in the away end during United’s match at Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
He confronted the fan responsible but, without back-up from those around him, was waved away dismissively and left feeling like a “petulant teenager”.
Ranbir then reported the incident to police at half-time and an arrest was made but he says he is disappointed by what he calls the “inaction” of other supporters who would have heard the abuse. The 22-year-old lifelong Leeds fan admits he now never wants to attend another match.
Ranbir, who comes from Pudsey but is currently studying in London, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Me, the lone brown face in a sea of white fans, was the only one to confront this man. Why?
“Right now I feel abandoned. I do not want to ever attend a Leeds game again.
“This was not strangers on a train. Leeds fans are a family – and if your family can’t speak up, then who else will?”
Ranbir also stressed, however, that he was heartened to learn a fan who sat next to him at Charlton had contacted United’s supporters liaison office after the game to voice his disgust at the yob’s behaviour.
A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed a man in his early 20s had been arrested in connection with the incident.
British Transport Police revealed in March that they had received 10 allegations of racist incidents involving Leeds fans over the previous three years – the joint second highest figure for any club in the country.
United, who have one of the largest away followings in football, said at the time there was no place for racism in the game and pledged to work to stamp out the problem.