Nathan Ashmore has revealed he is still subjected to racial abuse as he insisted: It will never go away.
Gosport Borough’s mixed-race goalkeeper declined to go into the specifics of where such incidents had happened but insisted it had never been from his club’s own fans and had only been from a small minority of rival supporters.
And while it is not every game, these are certainly not isolated episodes either.
But in the wake of Chelsea banning five of their own supporters for alleged racism on the Paris Metro, when footage showed a black man being pushed from a train, Ashmore believes it is something that will always be around football.
‘People say racism has gone but it hasn’t,’ said Ashmore.
‘It is always there and it always will be there.
‘It’s hard in non-league football because you can’t really control it.
‘There isn’t the police presence or stewards there to help.
‘I still get it in this day and age.
‘But I try not to bite back. I’m not really bothered. I just rise above it.
‘It’s terrible that some people still think like that but I wouldn’t say a bad word about anyone and I would probably shake their hand afterwards. That’s what I’m like.
‘It’s one of those things. I’ve grown up with it for my whole life.
‘It shouldn’t happen but I’m not too fussed.
‘If they want to say things and be like that, it’s up to them isn’t it?’
While Ashmore shows enormous restraint and maturity to shrug such abuse off, he believes there is little choice other than to do his best to ignore it.
He said: ‘I know you shouldn’t have to accept it but I’ve had it my whole life so I am not going to start caring now.
‘I’m 25 now, so there is no point in having a whinge or moaning about it.
‘It will never go away.
‘You see the thing happening with those so-called Chelsea fans last week.
‘That’s just the way some people think.’
As a keeper, Ashmore knows he will be the target for abuse from behind the goal and admitted he has learned not to rise to the goading.
‘Being a goalkeeper is not for the faint-hearted at times,’ added Ashmore.
‘You can get battered for 90 minutes by fans but, if they are doing that, it means you are doing alright. They want you to make a mistake.
‘I just try to concentrate on my own game. It can be a weakness if you let it affect you.
‘I’m not going to lie, I’ve bitten a few times but I have learned my lesson.
‘You’ve got to try not to but it can be hard sometimes.
‘I was tempted to go and punch a couple of them when I was younger.
‘But I’ve quietened down a bit and you learn from your mistakes.
‘I get abused by people standing behind the goal and I’ve just learnt not to take it nowadays.’
Borough boss Alex Pike has also heard the abuse aimed at his goalkeeper and has considered making an official complaint.
Pike said: ‘Nathan has had it all. It’s not week in, week out but it is regular.
‘I’ve heard things and told him “I’m not having this, we need to report it” but he didn’t want to do it.
‘Nathan didn’t want it to go any further because he is that type of kid.
‘He’s a strong character and it actually motivates him to do even better.’