John Beresford has been on some journey in his football career.
As a kid he would go and watch Sheffield United before making it as a professional football player.
Ending up at Newcastle United, he had the best years of his football life under Kevin Keegan.
The move to St James Park also led to him eventually coming into contact with Tyneside based Show Racism The Red Card (SRTRC)
The ant-racism/discrimination organisation do great work in educating people, especially kids, and only last year John Beresford was awarded the MBE due to his work with SRTRC.
Interestingly, and bravely, Beresford has now admitted that back in the day, he was one of those he is now trying to educate.
The retired player saying that back in his days supporting Sheffield United, he was part of the ‘mob culture’ on the terrace, making monkey noises and other racist chants.
Born in 1966, like Newcastle fans who are now in their 50s or so, John Beresford was part of the terrace culture of the 70s and 80s.
As those of us who were around then know, it was common place to have racist chanting at many/most stadiums, including St James Park.
I can imagine Sheffield being very similar to Newcastle back then, at the football you would see very very few non-white faces.
There must have been some strange thoughts going through Beresford’s head in the 1990s as he thought back to his racist behaviour as a kid/youth, now playing next to some of the best players Newcastle have ever seen, the likes of Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand, plus of course the cult hero that was Tino Asprilla.
If anything, talking about his life’s journey and own education, only strengthens John Beresford’s hand when working with SRTRC, and explaining/educating young people why racism/discrimination has no place in the modern day.
John Beresford speaking to ITV:
“In the late seventies black players were few and far between, but I would be doing the monkey chants, I would be shouting abuse and things like that.
“I was part of a mob culture…it wasn’t a time great for supporters, it was quite volatile.
“When I was younger, I was never told what was right and what was wrong.
“Meeting people and understanding how wrong it was, helped change my views.”