Kick It Out’s One Game, One Community weeks of action is upon us, taking place from Thursday, October 13 to Monday, October, 31 and our players, staff and supporters have pledged their support.
Kick It Out continues to operate as football’s equality and inclusion campaign, working with players at professional and grass roots and community level, clubs, managers and fans throughout the year.
It is during the weeks of action where the campaign is most visible, with this period acting as a united stand against discrimination and a call for equality.
Tom Huddlestone is flying the flag as club ambassador this season, as professional clubs across England and Wales make their own contribution by holding matchday events and activities at their nominated fixture.
In his role as ambassador, Tom sat down for the following Q&A...
How vital is it that youngsters who are looking to make a career out of professional football maintain their focus when it comes to school education? Do you think it’s important to give yourself as many options as possible in life?
Tom: “I don’t believe any youngster should focus solely on becoming a footballer. It is always good to have a back-up plan if football doesn’t work out, and I would say that a good education is important even if you do become a professional when you consider the amount of media work and other off-field commitments a modern day player is involved in.”
How shocked were you by the riots that occurred in Tottenham during August? Have you been impressed by the community’s reaction to the damage caused to the local area?
Tom: “I was extremely shocked watching the television coverage of the troubles spreading all over the country, not just Tottenham – it almost didn’t seem real. However, having been back to Tottenham a number of times since the riots, it is clear that much of the damage appears to have been cleared and things are getting back to normal. The Club is a major pillar of the community in Tottenham and many local businesses in the area rely on the matchday support they receive. In the aftermath of the troubles, the Club offered its support financially and the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation continues to play a key role in the community, as do we as players, and I think the area as a whole has shown great character and powers of recovery.”
There has been a lot of discussion around the lack of black managers in English football recently. Do you believe there are barriers in the way of people from minority backgrounds looking to break into management? If so, how do you believe this issue could be addressed?
Tom: “It is hard to assess whether or not there are barriers as we have no idea as to how many people from minority backgrounds are actually trying to break into management. We all know there are very few in the English game at the highest level, although we have both Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey on the coaching staff here at Spurs. But I believe it’s all about having the self-confidence and belief to try and become a manager more than anything else. A few of the players at Spurs, including myself, will soon be taking our coaching badges, so who knows what the future holds? Most players once they finish playing like to continue being involved in the game, and being a manager would be the ideal way to do that.”
How aware are you of the Kick It Out campaign? How much of an impact do you believe the initiative has had in reducing levels of discrimination?
Tom: “All players are aware of the Weeks Of Action when we warm up in the t-shirts pre-match and I am proud to be the Club’s Ambassador for the campaign this season. I believe it has had a positive affect and the Premier League is certainly one of the best leagues in the world when you consider how little racism there is amongst players and fans. You hear stories about other major leagues in Europe and it’s disappointing, but I believe we have got it right in this country with campaigns such as Kick It Out.”