Haringey Ladder
When Saturday Comes|December 2019
The decision to walk off in the face of abuse has shone a national spotlight on a community club with a progressive approach
Huw Richards

If the minority of Yeovil Town fans who are alleged to have racially abused Haringey Borough players during the FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie at Coles Park thought nothing would come of it, they chose the wrong opponents.

Borough, at the far end of White Hart Lane from a better-known club, are not like Dulwich Hamlet and Clapton CFC, who place anti-racist politics front and centre. But they have the ethnic mix usual on the London non-League scene, and a strong identification between team and fans.

If one striking element of the events which unfolded after Haringey’s players walked off in protest was the Yeovil club’s response, described as “class and dignity” by Haringey chairman Aki Achillea, another was the reaction of the home fans, who stood pretty much as one to applaud as long-serving manager Tom Loizou took his team off.

That something had happened behind the Haringey goal was obvious from my vantage point in the stand. Cameroonian goalkeeper Valery Pajetat was visibly furious and appeared to throw something to the ground. The referee came to the side of the pitch clutching a bottle. That there were also allegations of racial abuse, with defender Coby Rowe targeted, percolated only gradually.

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