Tom Rubashow reports
Ahead of Saturday's home game against Walsall, 330 school children will be amongst those involved in a procession celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Charlton Race & Equality. Among the guests on the club’s annual Red, White and Black Day is Charlton legend Carl Leaburn.
The former striker, whose wife Tracey (Charlton Athletic Player Liaison Officer) has been essential in organising the day, explained why he was taking part and why it was important so many children were involved.
He said: “It’s a great cause, bringing everyone together. I’m a believer in diversity, so it’s always good to show your face in what you believe in.
“All these youngsters are the future, they’re the players and the fans of tomorrow so it’s always good to educate early so we don’t have to go back to the bad old days where you might get spit on from the crowd and all sorts of nonsense. It’s always good to keep on top of these things and keep educating. For me the educating of the youngsters is the most important part of this.”
Leaburn scored 53 goals in 344 appearances for Charlton and praised the club its fans for being forward thinking on racism.
When asked if he received any racial abuse during his playing days he said: “Unfortunately I did. Growing up as a kid you do suffer these things. At that time maybe people thought that was part of the game. You’d get stick from fans and sometimes you’d get it from players. Thankfully in the latter years, getting it from players, from my memory, got completely cut out and there were only a few grounds you’d go to where you’d have to endure racist abuse, but as a team we used to combat it together. We’d stick together through thick and thin, whether that was players, staff or anyone at Charlton. Luckily I was at a club that didn’t tolerate that nonsense.
“I remember first going to Charlton, from the day I got in there I felt comfortable. I cannot remember an incident when I had to endure anything racial from the crowd. I might have got some stick but no racial digs.
“Charlton, to me, have always put that extra little bit in and kept it going, hence it’s the 25th anniversary of CARE. I’m looking forward to the parade.”
Other guests at today’s procession include Charlton legend Jason Euell and Charlton’s women’s team captain Kim Dixson.
The parade is set to start at Charlton Station from 1.55pm. For more information on the activity click here.
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