Latics hero given anti-racism honour

Emmerson Boyce
Emmerson Boyce

WIGAN Athletic captain Emmerson Boyce has been commemorated for his work to combat racism.

The 34-year-old was one of a number of players inducted into the Show Racism the Red Card Hall of Fame at a special event at Parliament last weekend.

The anti-racism charity, which has been running for 17 years and is well-known across football, held its third Hall of Fame event at Speakers’ Residence.

Boyce was inducted alongside Spurs and England striker Jermaine Defoe and women’s footballer Rachel Yankey. He was given the honour after working with the charity on numerous high-profile campaigns.

The Latics skipper grew up in Aylesbury where he says he experienced very little in terms of racial aggravation but when he signed for Luton Town, he became aware of the problem.

“I grew up in Aylesbury and it was quite a mixed area – I didn’t really notice any racism there,” said Boyce.

“Obviously when I was younger there were things like ‘stop and search’, but you take those things with a pinch of salt when you are young. Apart from that my area was fine.”

Boyce’s attitude towards racism has always been just to ignore it.

He believes that by giving the perpetrators the attention they crave, it means they would be getting exactly what they want.

After leaving Luton, the Barbados international signed for Crystal Palace before joining Wigan.

Fortunately, Boyce has never experienced any problems at Wigan and says abuse is quite rare in today’s game.

“When I played at Luton I experienced it myself,” he said. “You used to get the racial abuse at away games.

“They would throw Jaffa cakes and make monkey noises – things like that.

“There were a few of us in the team, we just laughed it off and joked about it later.

“It shows how far that football has come. You don’t really hear about that here now.”