FA Cup: Haringey Borough make anti-racism stand in replayed Yeovil Town match

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Updated: 25/06/2022


Haringey Borough's starting side was made up of players from nine different countries

Haringey fans came out in numbers as their side lost the re-arranged FA Cup tie to Yeovil Town, 10 days after it was abandoned over racism allegations.

There was no repeat of the alleged racist abuse that marred the original game where the home side's players walked off in protest.

Yeovil ended up winning the game 3-0 at the North London club to secure a first round tie at home to Hartlepool United.

Police are still investigating the racism allegations from the first game.

“We entertained the fans, we competed and most importantly, the night passed without incident,” Haringey manager Tom Loizou told BBC Sport.

“You saw the type of people who come out and support this club tonight and the fans sung their hearts out, nothing abusive about it.

“There's no room for racism. All you need to do is come down here, watch a game and see how our fans acquit themselves and people should take a leaf out of our book.”

On the pitch, National League Yeovil saw off a side two tiers below them.

“There was a lot of tension ahead of it and I thought we played very well,” Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll told BBC Radio Somerset.

“There was a good focus and energy and spirit amongst us and I thought we thoroughly deserved to win the game.

“They showed good spirit like they did in the first game and it was competitive, especially when they started throwing a few more players on at centre-forward.”

Having had the best of the first-half chances, Chris Dagnall put the Glovers ahead with his first goal for the club after half an hour.

Yeovil wrapped the game up with two goals in a five-minute spell after the break as Luke Wilkinson's towering 56th-minute header from a corner was added to by Dagnall as he pounced on a mistake by goalkeeper Haringey Valery Pajetat.

How did we get here?

Haringey Borough's Cameroon-born goalkeeper Valery Pajetat was the subject of alleged racist comments when the sides first met earlier this month

The initial fourth qualifying round tie between the two sides on 19 October was abandoned in the aftermath of a 64th-minute penalty.

Rhys Murphy had given visitors Yeovil a 1-0 lead from the spot when it was claimed that Haringey goalkeeper Pajetat was spat at and struck by an object thrown from the Yeovil supporters' section.

Haringey defender Coby Rowe alleged he had been the victim of racist comments during the incident.

In the aftermath, Haringey boss Loizou took his players off the field, with Yeovil's team coming off with them in solidarity.

“I don't want it (walking off) to become a habit,” Loizou said.” I reacted in the way I reacted because of the moment.

“I looked into the eyes of my players, they were distraught and that's why I took the action I did. You can't quite understand what racism means and does until you see that pain for yourself.

“I don't know what the answer is. There's got to be one somewhere and it's down to the FA, Uefa, Fifa and the police to find those.

“What I did last Saturday shouldn't have been left to me, someone else should've made that decision.”

The Football Association ordered that the game should be replayed, with the winners drawn to face Hartlepool Town at home in the first round.

But Loizou questioned if Yeovil should have received a heavier punishment.

“We could have been kicked out because I led the team off the pitch, which is against FA rulings, but a heavier punishment should have happened,” he said.

“Maybe they should have been thrown out of the competition, but I wish them all the best.

“The majority of the people, the manager, the players supported us and don't deserve to be kicked out, but something a little bit heavier should have been done.”

‘Football's the winner tonight'

Troy Townsend says incidents of racism must continue to be brought into the public eye

In the aftermath of the abandoned match the two clubs came together and said they wanted ‘the real winner to be football' in a joint statement.

Anti-racism charity Kick It Out have been at the forefront of trying to cut racism out of football, and their head of development Troy Townsend was among the crowd at Coles Park.

“It must have been really tough for them after what happened 10 days ago,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“It was good that both sets of players came together and it was a good-hearted game, really competitive, but football's the winner tonight.”

But he says people within football must continue to speak out when they hear racism if it is to be eradicated from the game.

“Things have now come into the public eye and people are talking about it more and they're asking questions demanding answers,” he added.

“We've got to continue to do that if we're going to effectively make change in this game.”

Yeovil fans ‘bitter about the accusations'

Chris Dagnall (centre) scored on his first start for Yeovil having joined from Tranmere earlier this month

But supporters of Yeovil Town say the club's reputation has been tarnished before any wrongdoing has been proven.

Two men arrested over the racism allegations during the first game have been bailed without charge.

“Yeovil are definitely not a racist club. These accusations are hurting Yeovil fans,” Paul Hadlow, who runs Green and White Supporters Club away travel, told BBC Points West.

“Yeovil fans are quite bitter about the accusations that have been thrown at them. Basically, we're guilty before being tried,” he added.

“A lot of the fans don't want to give them [Haringey] the money again. They feel that the allegations are false.

“I'm quite bitter and angry about it because there's been nothing proven yet. Everyone seems to have us banged to rights.”


BBC Sport's David Lockwood at Coles Park

In contrast to events here 10 days ago there was a positive message sounding out from all corners of the Coles Park ground with the local community joining regulars to make a stand.

Pupils and teachers from Woodside High School making the journey just a few hundred yards down white hart lane for the first time, complete with placards and banners saying “stop racism” and “show racism the red card”.

They weren't the only ones with a message of support beyond football, there were almost as many “Stamp Out Racism” stickers as there were spectators – worn proudly on their winter wear as the temperature dropped.

The home faithful were keeping warm in the grandstand on their feet singing continually first and most notably in praise of Valery Pajetat who was one of the players on the receiving end of the alleged racist abuse in the abandoned match earlier this month.

Amid the banners proclaiming “One Game and One Community” and “Haringey Stand up to Racism” there was an increased police and security presence.

Despite the result, a large crowd in good voice added to a positive party atmosphere and a sense of the feel good factor that football can be generate, when it comes together.

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