ClaretandHugh’s Leroy Rosenior recalls how former Hammers boss Lou Macari attempted to change a doctor’s mind about him being fit enough to play whilst suffering an horrific knee cartilage problem.
Lee explains precisely what happened in his new book “It’s Only Banter” which has now been published and is available from Amazon. (details below).
It was an injury which marked beginning of the the end for Lee who was forced into retirement and still hobbles as a result of the problem.
He said: “A doctor looked at my knee which was swollen before the match and said there was no way I should play but Lou Macar got into him and said he had no other centre forward and that this would cause him real problems.
“The doctor then returned and said that maybe he was wrong and perhaps it would be ok for me to take part in the game. It wasn’t and I remember Stuart Robson blasting into Macari for what he’d done. It was shocking.”
Leroy had loved his time at West Ham but he had suffered the worst kind of racism as he made his way in the game when Nazi saluted by thousands at Elland Road and spat on at Portsmouth by a kid.
He was however, determined to succeed and it was such as him that paved the way for black players to break through in the game.
He has been a ceaseless campaigner against racism since and told Claretandhugh: “It is of course much better now but we must never forget how it was – we learn our lessons from history.”
His book – It’s Only Banter – is a social commentary as much as a football biography and opens with a powerful account of one of his early games for Fulham when he was the target of persistent racial abuse by two opponents.
He writes: ‘I took to the field a young man with something to prove,’ he wrote. ‘I left as a young black man with something to prove.’
ClaretandHigh is proud to have Leroy as its chief pundit and we recommend every follower to buy a copy of the most important football biography to have been written in years.
It’s only Banter is available either in hard copy form or kindle from Amazon UK at £14.88 or £9.99.
Shocking story but in retrospect, I shouldn’t be surprised. They were dark days under Lou Macari after the honest stewardship of Gemtleman John Lyall. Macari had no consideration for the club or anyone at it. Ask Allen McKinight. Sorry to hear that Rosey suffered too. Top Man. A true West Ham man.
I wish I could say it was shocking, growing up in the east end in the 70’s / 80’s it was shockingley common through school and later life aswell as on the terraces, thankfully people like Leroy and many others of all colours have rightly challenged it, there is still an undercurrent in certain areas and institutions, I never understood it as a kid and still don’t to this day most of it seems to derive from ignorance and in some cases is passed down from generation to generation.
Well said 32 and thanks Iron Man . I’ll pass all of that on to the top man boys