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Erith and Belvedere assistant manager quits football after racist incident at Gillingham away game against Hollands and Blair

An assistant manager at a non-league club has quit football after being left sickened by the level of racism aimed at his players.

Erith and Belvedere FC's Brian Vanderhook stepped down following the side's away game at Gillingham club Hollands and Blair FC at the weekend.

Brian Vanderhook. Picture: Twitter/@bvanderhook1
Brian Vanderhook. Picture: Twitter/@bvanderhook1

The Welling-based team, which plays in the Southern Counties East Football League, tweeted on Sunday: "Erith & Belvedere FC are saddened to announce assistant manager and goalkeeper coach, Brian Vanderhook, has decided to quit football.

"Stating he can no longer be part of football due to the racist remarks directed at the Deres players from a ground steward on Saturday."

A follow-up tweet said: "To be fair to the opposition, they identified the person immediately and said they will deal with it.

"The assistant chairman did apologise. But unfortunately his excuse wasn't great."

The club's acting chairman, Michael Cooper, who was at the game standing in for the club's manager, said he had reported the incident to the referee and the Kent FA.

He said: "It was a racial remark made and the chairman's apology said, 'He's of an age and they don't know the terminology'."

The action came after Hollands and Blair won the game 7-1 on Saturday.

Mr Cooper added: "Our goalkeeper coach is so sickened with racial abuse going on and he said to me, 'If we can't protect our players, from this then I don't want to be part of this any more."

He also said this was not the first time his team - most of whom are black - had experienced racism while playing in the county.

He said: "When we seem to go into Kent, we seem to get this quite regularly."

Hollands and Blair FC's secretary Laurence Plummer confirmed the club's vice chairman Martin Bass had apologised to the opposing club.

Erith and Belvedere lost 7-1 at Saturday's game against Gillingham side Hollands and Blair. Picture: Phil Lee
Erith and Belvedere lost 7-1 at Saturday's game against Gillingham side Hollands and Blair. Picture: Phil Lee

Speaking on Monday, he said: "We have sent a letter to Erith and Belvedere this morning."

He declined to comment about the contents of the apology letter.

Kent football has been marred by incidents involving racism during the past few seasons.

Dover boss - and former Gillingham manager - Andy Hessenthaler branded it a "sad day" when his players were abused during the Whites' 2-0 victory at Hartlepool in September.

In the wake of the abuse and chanting suffered by England's squad in Bulgaria last month, Maidstone United captain George Elokobi told the KM Football Podcast racism in football is "getting out of control".

Last year, Ebbsfleet United keeper Nathan Ashmore was subjected to racial abuse from an Eastleigh fan, who was subsequently banned and fined.

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