Lenny Johnrose: ‘Black history should be embedded in everyday life and culture’

Lenny Johnrose speaking to the Gazette.

Former Preston North End and Burnley midfielder Lenny Johnrose believes stopping racism in sport needs to be dealt with through education.

The 50-year-old expressed his thoughts about racism in society and how it should be dealt with moving forward.

However, Lenny doesn’t think the issue will be stopped, especially during his lifetime.

In a recent interview with The Gazette, he said: “We need to stop it through education. Sport is just a platform in society.

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“If we didn’t have racism in society then we wouldn’t have it in sport, but that comes down to education.

“However, this won’t happen in my lifetime. Everyone in life has something they don’t like about people, but you need to keep it to yourself.

“We’ve got to learn to live with it. The right step in the direction is to educate each other and ourselves, but racism will never go away.”

After 16 years of playing football, Lenny retired and became a schoolteacher; he would speak to his students about the importance of black history.

While Black History Month is great for raising awareness, the former pro believes assigning a single month to it shows the issues in society.

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He said: “Black history should be embedded in everyday life and culture.

“I believe Black History Month is just a token effort because we leave it alone for 11 months.

“I just feel like we just have these little phases when we talk about it and then completely forget about it.

“I feel because we’re in Britain we should talk about British history; this includes a lot of things to do with black culture.

“It needs to be embedded in schools, colleges and work. There shouldn’t be a need to have Black History Month.”

Lenny, who now suffers with motor neurone disease, admits through his playing career that he did receive racial abuse from supporters and players, but this didn’t cause him to leave the pitch.

Former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli and Porto’s Moussa Marega are two players who’ve left the field following racial abuse from supporters, but Lenny Johnrose maintains players should stay on the pitch.

He said: “I don’t think players should walk off the pitch.

“I wouldn’t do that as it gives them that satisfaction. I think it opens up more problems if you walk off.

“They (the fans) should be prosecuted as they’ve committed an offence.

“I received it from the terraces and occasionally from other players, but it didn’t bother me one bit.

“If I was too worried about someone with that level of intelligence then I’ve got a problem, ultimately you can’t hide how you feel so if that’s how they feel then fine.”