The Problem With Reo Coker Isn’t Race

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Effra chimes in on the latest slaughtering the Premiership’s most troubled club has received in the press

Race is the issue that we are going to hear a lot more about once West Ham are relegated and various players, starting with our full-of-himself captain are on their way. I have no idea what happened in the West Stand last Sunday with Reo-Coker and Shaun Newton.

I would bet as much money though as Mattie Etherington has been spinning on the dogs that this story was in the Sunday Mirror because of Reo-Coker’s agent. The unfortunate fact is that the troublesome clique that have been partly responsible for wrecking West Ham’s season are black. They are far from the only people that have landed us in this season’s catastrophic mess.

Etherington and Carroll are self-confessed gambling addicts, Pardew’s self-control spectacularly broke down, and Teddy Sheringham has apparently, and nauseatingly, fleeced younger and stupider team-mates at poker and let their debts to him fester. But it is the desire and commitment to the club of Reo-Coker and his friends that have, rightly or wrongly, been called into question more than these individuals. I think that some West Ham fans definitely don’t like the fact that the billionaires-boy club clique is black, and perhaps some of them did shout things last Sunday at Reo-Coker and Newton.

But in Reo-Coker’s world any judgement of him appears to have become tantamount to criticism because he is black. The week after Curbishley was appointed, his agent was busy telling the press that he had received racist death threats in letters from West Ham fans. West Ham fans got lots of bad press and Kick Racism Out got on the club’s back about what happened. It turned out that there was one sub-literate letter from one person who could not be identified as a West Ham fan. Reo-Coker had his reason though why it wasn’t possible to play for such stupid fans and he had to leave. I think that he probably genuinely believes this because he can’t understand in his egocentric view of the universe why any West Ham fan might have a justified reason for being down right furious with him and most of the rest of the team this season.

If he has been subject to any racist abuse, that is totally and unequivocally unacceptable. But if his agent is using exaggerated allegations of racism to drag our club even further through the muck, to avoid his share of the responsibility for our fate, and provide a pretext for his summer bailout, then he will have sunk even further in the view of lots of us who won’t countenance racist nonsense for a moment. It isn’t about your skin colour, Nigel. It is the fact that you are the captain of our club and you don’t seem to give a toss about that or us.

Just consider the difference between the receptions received by Lumplard and Rio when they come back to Upton Park if you don’t believe me.