The Brexit Party at Blundell Park: a statement

Cod Almighty | Article

by Cod Almighty

15 November 2019

It is not about "not liking" a particular politician. It is about whether Grimsby Town are serious about promoting diversity

Last night, the Brexit Party was allowed to hold a political rally at Blundell Park. If the club board and McMenemy's management was hoping it could be treated as a corporate booking just like any other, that was blown out of the water by pictures of Nigel Farage posing with a Town shirt, his name on the back.

Grimsby Town have allowed themselves to be drawn into a highly-polarised, divisive election campaign. They cannot say they weren't warned.

This is not about Cod Almighty "not liking" Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party. This is about a campaign which - from a position of white, male, heterosexual privilege - demonises those who are not like them.

During the EU referendum campaign, Farage posed in front of posters which stoked racism. Since then, there has been a sharp rise in hate crimes. We have seen the evidence in the resurgence of racist abuse at football matches. The reality of that, for hundreds of thousands of black or asian people, for people who were born or whose parents were born in mainland Europe is that they have been made to feel unwelcome in the United Kingdom. Do we want those people to feel especially unwelcome at Blundell Park?

Earlier this year, the club supported Fans of the Future: an initiative to raise funds to give every young child in North East Lincolnshire a Town shirt. Can you imagine the children whose families have faced racist abuse wanting to be seen in the same shirt that the poster boy for xenophobia and racism last night used in a photo-opportunity.

Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party have been allowed to rubbish every effort Grimsby Town have made to promote diversity. Hundreds of fans - those who aren't white, those who aren't straight, those who are non-binary, and those who stand in solidarity them - are this morning questioning whether they can go back to Blundell Park.

Not because they aren't "real fans". Because they are wondering if they will feel welcome.