SHAMAL George has thanked Colchester United fans for their support after being subjected to racist abuse during their game against Barrow.

A complaint of alleged racist abuse aimed towards U's goalkeeper George from the home end was made during the first half of their 3-2 victory in the League Two encounter, last Friday night.

Colchester are supporting Barrow in their aim to find and punish 'any person or persons responsible', following the incident.

George admits his 'head was everywhere' after the incident - but says the support of U's supporters, along with that of the club, his colleagues and family - has been hugely beneficial.

He said: "It's great to have the support of our fans - I love every single one of them, with the support that we got.

"It was mad and I know they've got my back and the coaches and my family as well.

"It's something that I can experience and move on from."


A complaint of alleged racist abuse directed towards U's keeper George was made by Colchester during their win at the Dunes Hotel Stadium.

It prompted referee Simon Mather to temporarily halt the League Two game after the abuse was reported, after conversing with George and U's skipper Tommy Smith.

The complaint was then formally announced by the Barrow PA system, with the message also declaring that such behaviour will not be tolerated at Barrow and that any racism should be reported.

George says hearing racist abuse directed towards him was an upsetting experience.

He said: "When I heard it, my head was everywhere at the time because I'd never had that before.

"I was getting a bit of stick from behind the goal before the game and during the game, I heard a comment which wasn't nice to hear.

"I turned around and it was a few kids and a few other people there, so I thought I'd just ignore it.

"But then I heard men saying it and I thought I'd have to report it, because it's not right.


"It upset me a bit but I had to get my head on the game again and talk to the gaffer (Hayden Mullins) and Smudger at half-time and we came through with the win.

"It was only a minority, a few idiots.

"I told Smudge (skipper Tommy Smith) and he said he wanted to tell the ref.

"I said 'leave it' at first but in the end, we said let's tell him because it's not right.

"The reason I said 'leave it' was because I don't think a lot happens, to be honest.

"A lot of racism has been going on lately and I don't think a lot of punishment has been put forward.

"It's never going to go away and that's the upsetting thing but that's just the way I feel.

"A lot of people are going through it at the moment for some reason, I don't know why.

"It's becoming more prevalent lately, which is crazy.

"The game is trying but you can't change every person's thoughts.

"Some people have just got a stupid mindset and think, different colour skin and you can get onto them.

"Their team had black players and I had some of their players coming up to me at half-time and at the end of the game saying they're sorry and stuff.

"They were upset about it as well and it's not nice to have a game or anywhere else.

"It was a new experience to me which isn't a bad thing, as it's probably going to happen again.

"I dealt with it well, we came through the second half and I made a save or two and we got the win, which is the most important thing.

"It didn't cross my mind to walk off because obviously, I wanted to finish the game with the team.

"It was never my intention to walk off and in the second half, I felt a lot more confident because there was no-one behind me saying stupid stuff."


George is now fully focused on helping Colchester maintain their impressive recent form when they host Crawley Town, tomorrow.

The U's are looking to extend their unbeaten league run to five matches, with a win over the Reds.

"We're really looking forward to the game on Saturday," said George, who was delighted to receive a personal message of support from Kick It Out president Shaka Hislop last weekend, following the incident at Barrow.

"We've been putting the miles in on the road and the work in on the training ground.

"We started this season positively and hopefully we can continue and make our home record as good as our away record. "Last season, I think we won one away game which was madness to be honest.

"We've already beaten that and we've had a really good start.

"Everyone is positive so hopefully this season, we can push on and pick points up both at home and on the road and we'll be up there.

"We have a lot of experience in the team and they keep everyone grounded.

"We're six games in and I've had a good start.

"It's about consistency and it's early days but I'm happy with the way I've started."

George says he is enjoying working under Colchester's goalkeeper coach Darren Smith alongside his fellow goalkeepers Jake Turner and Dean Gerken, who has recently returned to training after injury.

He added: "We all train well and everyone is buzzing.

"Dean's back now and it's great to have him back.

"Having his experience around the training ground is only beneficial to me and Jake."