England fans have defied the wishes of Gareth Southgate and once again booed their own players kneeling before kick off against Romania on Sunday.
Footballers have taken to kneeling before every game for the past year in a defiant message against racism in all walks of life, following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
However, the return of supporters to football grounds has seen the message opposed by fans in the stands, and thousands booed England stars Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham and Tyrone Mings when they kneeled before Wednesday’s win over Austria at the Riverside Stadium.
England fans defied the wishes of Gareth Southgate and booed their players kneeling before kick off against Romania on Sunday
Returning supporters have voiced their opposition to the message against racism in society
Gareth Southgate urged fans to get behind the players ahead of kick off in Middlesbrough
Manager Southgate said the team were ‘collectively disappointed’ about the negative reaction in midweek, which was the first England match played in front of fans since November 2019.
The Three Lions boss urged fans to respect the players’ stance, while the FA are understood to have considered using the public announcement system at Middlesbrough to urge fans to respect the gesture.
‘We can’t control the response but we’re very clear on our stance, we’re totally with the players,’ he told ITV Sport before kick off. ‘We’re united with the staff and the playing group. We hope to unite people through that.’
Yet audible boos were heard in Teesside, although a large number of fans applauded the stars
Some players from the visiting side chose to remain standing during the pre-match gesture
Yet supporters still opted to voice their disapproval of players kneeling, with boos heard at the Riverside Stadium while a number of fans tried to drown out the discontent with a round of applause for the players.
Two players from the visiting side chose to remain standing during the moment before kick off.
Ian Wright said he was ‘proud’ of Southgate and his players before kick off, saying that those supporters who claim that they boo the stance because of its political connotations are ‘disingenuous’.
‘Gareth and the team you have to express their values. I’m very proud of Gareth,’ he said. ‘They’re taking the knee to highlight the injustice, it’s a symbolic gesture. The excuses they [booing fans] are using for why they’re booing are disingenuous.’
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