Mings: Racist Abuse Started in Warm-Up
Tuesday, 15th Oct 2019 09:51
Former Blues defender Tyrone Mings says he heard racist chanting as he made his way on to the field for the warm-up prior to his England debut in Bulgaria last night.
The Three Lions won the Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia 6-0 but the match will be remembered for racist chanting and Nazi salutes from sections of the home support.
Prompted by complaints by Mings and England boss Gareth Southgate, these led to the match officials invoking UEFA’s anti-racism protocols; a break in the game in the 28th minute in which an announcement was made warning that the match was in danger of being abandoned and then a further pause shortly before half-time.
"I heard it before I even got to the other side of the pitch for the warm-up,” Mings, who made 49 starts and 15 sub appearances for the Blues between December 2012 and June 2015.
"We then spoke about it when we came in after the warm-up and, obviously, I don't need to spell it out. I think everybody heard the chants, but we stood together and we made certain decisions.
"Just before half-time we were contemplating coming off the pitch because that was the next step after a stadium announcement but there were a couple of minutes to go to half-time.
"So we thought we'd play the couple of minutes, go into half-time and talk about it then which we did and we made a collective decision.
"Everyone was happy to continue, everyone was happy to see if things improved in the second half and I think it was important that we allowed the correct protocol to be followed and things were better in the second half."
The 26-year-old, who joined Aston Villa from AFC Bournemouth for an initial fee of £20 million in the summer, insisted that he wasn’t impacted by the abuse and has been widely praised for a composed performance at the centre of England's defence.
”It did not affect my feelings one bit,” he added. “I felt a bit sorry for the people that have these views.
"I feel it is not a reflection of the views of the whole country and I feel that the appropriate steps were taken.
"It didn't affect my feeling but I was aware that we had to follow the right protocols, and not think it does not affect me so I won't report it.
"I have a duty to people that don't have a voice or that perhaps are abused and it does hurt or get to them. I don't know why it does not affect me, it just doesn't."
Mings felt UEFA’s protocols worked: "They did, yes. I didn't hear anything in the second half. I can't speak for everybody, but I can speak for myself. So I think fans were removed and if that was the case then I think the protocol has definitely worked.
"We were here to play football, so we didn't want to really be having these conversations but it was important we made a collective decision.
"We represent a lot of people and we have to not just make a stance for ourselves, but we have to make it clear these things won't be accepted. So it was important to consult everyone at half-time and everybody made the decision, and we played on the whole game."
Mings, who hadn’t previously won a cap at any level, flew family and friends out to Bulgaria to watch him make his England bow.
"I'm immensely proud, it is a dream come true for sure," he reflected. "It is the pinnacle of English football, everybody dreams of representing their country, everybody knows my journey.
“I was extremely proud and had my friends and family in the crowd, so I don't think they will let it overshadow this.
"I was absolutely happy they were here tonight and it will be a memory we will talk about for a long, long time - a good memory.”
Having been signed for £10,000 from Chippenham Town, Mings left the Blues to join Bournemouth in the summer of 2015 for £8.1 million with Town receiving a further £1.2 million following his Villa switch - with another £650,000 possible in the future - making him the club’s record sale.
Photo: Action Images
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