• ‘If I was white I would have been England captain for 10 years
‘The former Tottenham and Arsenal defender Sol Campbell has attacked the Football Association as “institutionally racist”, claiming he would have been the first-choice England captain for 10 years had he been white.
In extracts from his new biography, serialised in the Sunday Times, Campbell, who won 73 caps for England but only captained them three times, also claims former Tottenham team-mates were to blame for false rumours about his sexuality.
“I believe if I was white I would’ve been England captain for more than 10 years,” Campbell writes. “It’s as simple as that. I think the FA wished I was white. I had the credibility, performance-wise, to be captain. I was consistently in the heart of the defence and I was a club captain early on my career.
“I don’t think [the attitude] will change because they don’t want it to, and probably the majority of them don’t want it, either. It’s all right to have black captains and mixed-race in the under-18s and under-21s, but not for the full national side. There is a ceiling and although no one has ever said it, I believe it’s made of glass.”
He added: “Michael Owen was made a captain ahead of me. I thought: ‘What is going on here?’ I think the FA didn’t want me to have a voice … it was embarrassing. I’ve asked myself many times why I wasn’t [captain]. I keep coming up with the same answer. It was the colour of my skin.”
Campbell, who said he was speaking out in an attempt to make sure the same situation does not arise in future, called on the FA to ensure more people of ethnic minority origin are given chances in the hierarchy. “It’s got to start changing because when you look behind the scenes, it’s just not representing English football.”
Campbell also talked of the abuse he received following his controversial move from Spurs to Arsenal in 2001, and discussed the homophobic slurs repeatedly used to bait him by rival crowds. “Because people didn’t see me falling out of clubs or shagging in the alleys with different girls every week, they thought something was wrong with me. I’m a footballer, after all.”
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