MAMADY SIDIBE was joined by ex-Potter Vincent Pericard and former Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Matt Murray to offer educational advice to local schoolchildren as part of the Show Racism The Red Card initiative.
Around 100 pupils from Ravensmead Primary, Newstead Primary and Chesterton Community Sports College attended the event held in the Tony Waddington Suite at the Britannia Stadium.
The trio of footballers were asked a range of questions regarding racism by the youngsters and provided their own personal insight into what racism is like in football.
Sidibe told everyone that he had never suffered racism in England, but still believes that it is important for the younger generation to be educated on the subject.
“I believe the tackling of racism has improved and the mentality has changed in society,” he said. “The Show Racism The Red Card campaign is a very good idea as it educates people, particularly children and I hope it continues.
“If we can make people aware of tackling racism with our actions on the pitch and through football, then that is great, and hopefully the message can be passed on through society.
“I’ve never been racially abused in England, but I did suffer from it when I lived in France. I moved there at a young age from Africa and couldn’t speak the language, so it was difficult for me and it is not a nice thing to experience.”
The players posed for pictures and signed autographs for the young fans after the event, and also selected what they felt were the best questions put to them with the three best awarded prizes.
The child judged to have put forward the best question earned a t-shirt and football signed by the Stoke City squad which was presented by Sidibe.
Pericard, who was Tony Pulis’ first signing as Stoke City manager, believes it is essential to teach people about racism.
“I think it’s massively important having the schoolchildren here today because education is one of the best ways to tackle racism, and the earlier we start the better as it is the younger generation who will be spreading the word,” he said.
“In 10 years time, they will be adults and they will have those values in them of equality and diversity so initiatives like today are very important.
“I’m glad that Mama and Matt have come here today, as we are role models and people look up to us. If we have a positive attitude, then they are likely to have a positive attitude and it is a way for us to give back to society.
“I have suffered racism in Italy, but never here in England which shows how far ahead we are compared to the rest of Europe.
“The Show Racism The Red Card campaign is definitely working and you just have to see how far we’ve come in the game in the last 10 years.”