Chelsea have been hit with more racism allegations involving former staff members Gwyn Williams and Graham Rix.
Chelsea have been hit with more racism allegations involving former staff members Gwyn Williams and Graham Rix, with more former youth players coming forward with claims.
Grant Lunn and Gary Baker, both former academy players at Chelsea in the early 1980's, have spoken out in support of the previous accusers after reading Williams' denial in The Guardian earlier back in March.
Since then, revelations of "white-against-blacks" training matches have emerged. And Lunn, a former white keeper who spent four years at Chelsea before being released as an 18-year-old, recalls that racial abuse was the norm around the grounds back in his day.
“As a group of kids, we probably became used to hearing racist terms and insults when we were at the club,” he told The Guardian. “One week there would be only one or two, another day it may happen 10 times. It was the norm.
“I can remember how it affected some of the lads. One of my team-mates was repeatedly called racist names by Williams and when we were alone together he would confide in me and say how he hated the way he was being treated, the names he was called and the way he was singled out time and again because of his color.
“It’s why I have come forward to support these players now. It has taken them so long to speak out because of the impact it has had on their lives. Some of these lads were excellent players who I think could have made it. They didn’t get support back then, but it is only right they have it now.”
Baker, who spent five years with the Blues, also white, claimed to be shocked upon reading Williams' denial.
“When I read the articles in March I was surprised how it all came flooding back and how it made me feel," he remarked. "It was the outright denial from Williams that made me want to come forward. I have no axe to grind with him personally, as I was never targeted in any way by him, but I was annoyed and angered to read his denial.
“I thought: ‘How on earth can he say that?’ as I know he racially abused players, one in particular in my time, regularly. I don’t think that back then, as a kid, I ever thought about it being wrong, and I wasn’t one to speak out anyway.
"Nobody spoke out. It wasn’t like today where there are at least four or five members of the coaching team. Williams was in charge of the entire youth setup and if you were going to make it in football it was on his say-so.”
Four former players have submitted formal claims, while several others have contacted lawyers with the aim of following suit. All of the allegations point to Williams, but Rix has been implicated as well.
The accusations were many and are so damning, Chelsea notified the FA and the Police were involved. A seven-month investigation yielded very little, however, and the lawmen could not come up with enough evidence to take anyone to task.
But the Blues have since opened up their own investigation and have offered counseling to the victims.
“We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and they will be fully investigated," they said in a statement. "We are absolutely determined to do the right thing, to assist the authorities and any investigations they may carry out, and to fully support those affected, which would include counseling for any former player that may need it.”