September 29, 2020

Bellingham highlights ‘disgusting’ racist abuse

Jude Bellingham said his goodbyes at Birmingham City after Wednesday’s Championship loss to Derby

Teenager Jude Bellingham has been the target of racist abuse on social media after an emotional final game for Birmingham City.

The 17-year-old is moving to German giants Borussia Dortmund, in a deal which could eventually be worth more than £30m to the Championship club.

West Midlands Police is looking into a Twitter post, which Bellingham described as “disgusting”.

“Times have to change. More has to be done,” he added.

“To not rate me as a player or even dislike me as a person is fine with me. But how someone can use my race and disgraceful stereotypes to criticise a decision I’ve made for my career is beyond me.”

Several top-level players, including Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick and Bristol City striker Famara Diedhiou, have highlighted abusive messages they have been sent on social media in recent weeks.

Bellingham’s emotional Blues farewell

Speaking to BBC Radio WM after Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Derby at St Andrew’s, Bellingham said he “can’t stop crying” about his exit from the club.

He spent time after the match saying goodbyes to club staff.

Bellingham believes Dortmund is the “best place for me right now to carry on my development”, but added: “I do love the club and I struggle to hide it. I know how much this club means to me. I can’t stop crying about leaving.

“I just hope they (the fans) have enjoyed watching me play. It will always have a massive place in my heart. It’s my club, the club I support, and it’s been a privilege to be able to play for this club.”

Bellingham became Birmingham’s youngest ever player at the start of the season, breaking the record of ex-England striker Trevor Francis when he made his first-team debut in August aged 16 years and 38 days.

He scored four goals in 44 appearances during his first season at senior level.

“For me, it’s been a dream come true,” he said. “Maybe it’ll sink in, what I’ve done and the records and stuff, a bit later. But for now I’m actually quite gutted. I look back with only fond memories.”

Bellingham’s brother Jobe is in Blues’ academy and he is hopeful of returning to St Andrew’s one day to watch his younger sibling in action for the first team.

“The thought of that makes me so happy,” he continued. “My brother’s on my shoulder crying tonight because he loves the club as well, just as much, if not more, than I do.

“He’s loved watching his big brother run around and gee up the fans whenever he gets the chance.

“He’s hungry and if and when he gets his chance, I’ll probably be in the stands cheering him on and falling down loads of rows when he gets his first goal.”