JAMAL Campbell-Ryce has revealed some of the vile racism he received during his playing career - and how he used it to drive him on.

The Colchester United academy coach, who has just announced his retirement after a successful playing career spanning nearly two decades, says he experienced racism ‘on many occasions’ during his time as a player.

Campbell-Ryce, who made nearly 550 appearances for the likes of the U's, Sheffield United, Barnsley and Bristol City, says the abuse made him even more determined to succeed.

The Jamaica international, 37, said: “I’ve experienced racism on many occasions, throughout my career.

“You have to think about how bad it was for the pioneers like Cyrille Regis and Viv Anderson who really, really went through racism and paved the way to make it OK for people like me when I was coming through.

“It wasn’t as bad but I still suffered it and all the rest of it.

“I’m lucky enough that I’ve got thick skin and those racist comments and remarks and abuse that I was getting and all the rest of it spurred me on to be even better.

“Now it’s brilliant that racism that happens now is being so scrutinised and hopefully the small minority are punished in the right way.

“It’s not nice but I feel sorry for those people who are that uneducated.

“We’re in 2020 now and they’re still doing the same thing that happened centuries ago and all the rest of it - it’s sad.”

Campbell-Ryce says it is essential that the momentum created by the Black Lives Matter campaign continues.

U’s players showed their solidarity for the message during their play-off games with Exeter City, taking a knee before both matches and joining other clubs in standing together in solidarity against racial discrimination.

Players in the EFL and Premier League have shown their solidarity with people protesting about the death of George Floyd, in the United States.

Former U’s winger Campbell-Ryce says support among the football community for the Black Lives Matter message has been ‘fantastic’ – but stressed it must now continue.

He said: “It’s been a fantastic change, over the last few weeks.

“What the players have been standing for has been superb.

“I just hope that this continues to progress.

“I’ve been playing for 20 years and the amount of times before a game where I’ve thrown on a ‘Kick It Out’ t-shirt but there’s no real meaning behind it.

“Now it finally seems as though something is finally being done and the momentum is great but that has to continue and hopefully it does.

“I don’t want it to just be in this period of what’s happened in America and George Floyd and Covid where everything has been really scrutinised.

“I just hope that when things go back to normal, these things and the momentum can continue.

“It can’t just be in one week and out the next.

“It’s something that needs to be addressed and it can only be addressed if it’s spoken about and dealt with on a regular basis.

“I was watching Everton v Liverpool the other night and Tim Cahill was on there.

“His point of view was superb in that he said that we can’t change the history of the past but we can change the future and that needs to start at home with the kids and in schools.

“We need to be educating our children a lot better on all of this and raise them better and I thought he made a fantastic point.

“Something like that I do think needs to be talked about in schools and how to treat others with equality, people from other races, other countries, other cultures should be a part of the curriculum.

“I think it’s so important.

“I also think that it starts from above us.

“Yes the media helps along with people like Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling who have been so much in the public eye in the last few weeks, which has been fantastic.

“But the Government, the PFA and the FA, the people above can make a big difference and when there is racism, the small minority are punished properly."

Campbell-Ryce has just started out on his coaching path, having worked within the Colchester academy this season as player-coach.

“Now that I’m dipping my toe into the world of coaching, there aren’t enough black coaches," he added.

“It’s time that we started educating our children better, at home and at schools."