An alleged victim of historical racial abuse at Chelsea has publicly identified himself.
Damien Wynter, a youth team player in the 1990s, has spoken of “internal racism and internal bullying” at the club in an interview.
Wynter also alleges ex-coach Gwyn Williams referred to him as the ‘Brother’, told him “black boys can run” and did “nothing” to prevent other racial abuse taking place in the dressing room.
Chelsea are currently investigating claims of historical racial abuse made by a number of former players. Children’s charity Barnardo’s has been commissioned to conduct an independent review.
The investigation was opened after allegations were made against Williams and another former coach, Graham Rix. Both men have denied “all and any allegations of racial or other abuse”.
Chelsea have said in a statement: “We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and they will be fully investigated.
“We are absolutely determined to do the right thing, to assist the authorities and any investigations they may carry out, and to fully support those affected, which would include counselling for any former player that may need it.”
Wynter spent two years at Chelsea before giving up football because of the abuse he says he suffered. He suggests there was a culture of racism within the youth squad that Williams did not discourage.
“I was experiencing racism at school, so my escape was football and that’s where the other racism started,” said Wynter.
“It wasn’t just in the changing room it was from staff itself. Was it direct racism? I’d say so. My first experience at Chelsea with racism was by Gwyn, and he called me the ‘Brother’.”
After this continued, Wynter claims his father made a complaint but he says that did not change anything.
Wynter added: “Nothing was done about that, so during the season Gwyn, he put his hand on my shoulder, he was a big man, I hadn’t seen him, I hadn’t spoken to him, but I remember looking up and he says, ‘You can do better than that, black boys can run’.
“Then it got to the showers. Within the changing room they used to talk about my penis. So again, my dad spoke to Gwyn. Nothing was done.”
Wynter claims that because of the culture within the group, “during training and games they never used to pass the ball to me”.
Eventually, he decided to quit “because when you break someone’s spirit there isn’t much else you’ve got left”.
Wynter insists he is not interested in any legal redress but wanted to come forward in a show of support for others who have made claims.
“I don’t want anything from it. If I can be of any assistance, I’d rather just be a voice and nothing else,” he said.