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Ebbsfleet United keeper Nathan Ashmore has been the target of racist abuse from the terraces

By Steve Tervet

Nathan Ashmore has warned football still has a problem with racism.

Police were called in after the Ebbsfleet goalkeeper was racially abused from the terraces during the Boxing Day win over Bromley.

A man arrested was later released without charge but that wasn’t an isolated incident.

Ebbsfleet goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore Picture: Andy Payton
Ebbsfleet goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore Picture: Andy Payton

Ashmore has been targeted several times this season and the 28-year-old revealed: “It’s happened all my career.

“This is the first season I’ve actually reported it properly. Because of the league we’re in now, it’s got more publicised but it’s something that hasn’t gone away.

“I’ve got used to it because I’ve had it all my life. On the football pitch it hasn’t gone away but I’ve got a strong character and won’t let it affect me.

“For the players who it does affect, it’s horrible because it will affect them emotionally and mentally. I’m quite mentally tough.

“You just have to ignore it and block it out. People want a reaction and I rarely give them one. Normally I can take it and then report it afterwards.”

But why do people at football matches still abuse players because of their skin colour?

Ashmore said: “It could be they’ve been brought up in that environment, a lack of education or they’re just doing it to put me off. That’s the only thing they think can get to me but it doesn’t.

“It will get to other players, though, that’s the thing.

Nathan Ashmore gets ready to launch the ball downfield Picture: Andy Payton
Nathan Ashmore gets ready to launch the ball downfield Picture: Andy Payton

“You can ban people from football but there’s nothing else. They’ll just go to another game somewhere else and they’re not going to know.

“As horrible as it sounds, I just get on with it and if they get caught, I’m happy they don’t go to any games. They’re only doing it because they want to put me off.”

Ashmore certainly hasn’t been distracted from his task this season, compiling a catalogue of great saves as Fleet have stepped up into the National League.

He’s made 101 appearances in less than two years at the club and his stock continues to rise.

Ashmore said: “I’ve enjoyed the challenge and my performances have shown that.

“I feel like I’ve improved immensely over the last two years at a good club with good players around me. We’ve got a good staff and the coaching’s good.

“I’ve gone from working in Nando’s to playing over 100 games for Ebbsfleet so it’s a great achievement. Hopefully, there are many more to come.

“I’ve gone from training once a week to being full-time and that’s a great opportunity. It’s a totally different environment and it’s only going to benefit me.”

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