Arsenal former Liverpool and Millwall footballer Jimmy Carter believes his decision and resilience was crucial to resisting racism and becoming the first Asian footballer of the Premier League.
The 53-year-old, that was signed up by Kenny Dalglish for the Reds in 1991, states mindset and the same strong character is crucial in seeing British Asians break into the game.
Despite there being 3,700 professional football players from the English game, only 11 are out of a British Asian backdrop, which makes up for just 0.3 per cent of the entire total.
“We discuss the figures but what ultimately brings players through is not ability but the all-purpose bundle,” Carter told Sky Sports News as part of their’Tackling Racism’ show focusing on British Asians.
“It is the personality and temperament of the individual that sees footballer make it.
“Dogged determination and durability as well as the thought that nothing will stage you is definitely a strong portion of it.
“It’s when you confront adversity and how you respond to it that things and if you don’t have that strength of character you are never going to return.
“Racial abuse was not going to knock me off my focus to become the player I dreamt I’d be.
“There was no Plan B for me personally , I had just one goal and, for me personally, I had been destined to become a professional football player by hook or by crook, nobody was planning to get in my way.”
Such was Carter determination to reach the highest possible level, he never felt the necessity to reveal his legacy, with his background only recently coming into light.
“I’m very proud of my legacy, I had been brought up by my Dad as an Indian child living on curry and rice every day,” Carter explained.
“It was never a conscious decision of holding the data, I just wanted to get on with what I wanted to do and I just didn’t think it was relevant.
“Obviously, from a young age, I had been conscious of racism for my skin colour.
“It shows I’m not fully English but to some level, because my surname was Carter rather than Asian sounding, then the insult and racism I encountered wasn’t that awful.
“Had I been called’Singh’ or’Patel’ or something then it definitely would have been ten times worse. So I guess I’got away with it’ for big components of my career.”
Regardless of this, Carter still remembers receiving racial abuse throughout his lifetime – in the early days of enjoying district soccer in south London contrary to”tough kids from the likes of Blackheath” into Tuesday night excursions up north as a professional.
“When you’re young it’s not pleasant getting abuse but I always strove to be the bigger man,” Carter stated.
“And I remember going to your away grounds, particularly up north, that 1 man, he’s coming to me so much hatred in his face
“He’s hurling abuse at me, spitting and I was just thinking – what is this man on?
“So I just smiled at him and it seemed to make him much worse I just thought he’d so much hatred for me, he must have massive issues.
“However, at the end of the afternoon, it is the best way to deal with this.”
Through the meeting, Carter speaks affectionately about his single-parent dad and his background from the infantry meant a strict, military upbringing that helped him to attain his goal of becoming a footballer.
Despite acknowledging his father’s insistence on early-morning runs at the freezing cold to provide Carter”one up” on his district soccer team-mates, Carter says heavy down his Dad was a”soft, handsome guy”.
And it was for this reason, Carter admits he never told his dad about any of this abuse he confronted.
“I went home and told my Dad I got racial abuse since I understand just how much that could have hurt him he would have felt so bad for me and felt responsible,” he explained.
“He’d have thought that due to the colour of the skin, I had been getting stick and abuse and I simply didn’t want that for him.”
Watch the’Tackling Racism’ series on Sky Sports News and Sky Sports Main Event on Mondays at 9pm.
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