Anton Ferdinand: Football Racism and Me airs on Monday, 30 November
“I just felt like it was the right time to speak. I’d carried the burden of not speaking for nine years.”
Anton Ferdinand was scared. Bullets in the post, missiles thrown at his mum’s house, fears for his career as a footballer.
But he is no longer scared.
In Anton Ferdinand: Football, Racism And Me – a new film airing on BBC One on Monday, 30 November – the retired footballer looks at the repercussions of being at the centre of a Premier League racism storm almost a decade ago.
It ended with the Football Association finding John Terry guilty of using racially abusive language towards Ferdinand during a match. Terry was fined £220,000 and banned for four matches by the FA and subsequently lost the England captaincy. A court of law had previously found him not guilty.
The case dominated English football for months. It left Ferdinand traumatised, feeling he had not been supported by the game’s authorities and with a lingering sense of guilt for not speaking publicly about it.
But he has – in his own words – got his voice back, and he talks passionately about how his film is “for the next generation”.
What happened between Ferdinand & Terry?
In a powerful scene early in the film, Ferdinand, now 35, recalls the day of the incident.
In October 2011, he was involved in an on-pitch spat with Terry, whose Chelsea team had two men sent off in a 1-0 defeat by Ferdinand’s Queens Park Rangers.
Television cameras picked up Terry appearing to use racially abusive language as he walked away from an argument, in which Ferdinand acknowledges he had used abusive language towards Terry.
In the film, Ferdinand explains he did not hear Terry say the words. He describes how the pair shook hands after the game, saying they agreed to dismiss their argument as “just banter”.
Ferdinand says the first he learned of the use of racist language was when he met his family in the box he had at Loftus Road.
“I was buzzing – we’ve just…