Interview

‘Mendy has paved the way for black goalkeepers’

As Chelsea continue to mark Black History Month, Edouard Mendy met Leyton Orient goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux to discuss racism in the game and the relative lack of black goalkeepers.

In an open and frank discussion at Cobham, which you can watch in full below, Blues fan and Orient stopper Vigouroux begins by telling Mendy about the racist abuse he suffered after a game at Port Vale recently. The individual in question has been found and punished. Vigouroux then asked Mendy if he has faced similar abuse.

‘It has happened to me many times,’ our goalkeeper said.

‘I try to stay focused on my football, my game, but even in social media it’s difficult. You cannot see who writes to you. For us it’s really difficult to deal with that.

‘We just have to talk. We don’t have to let them do what they do. We have to report this kind of abuse.’

‘Especially with the position we play we can hear that people are saying as well,’ added Vigouroux.

‘You’re right when you say we need to report it and stay strong, and have tunnel vision, and focus on yourself.’

After discussing their path to becoming goalkeepers, and Mendy’s move to Chelsea a year ago, the 27-year-old Vigouroux explained why our keeper’s rise to the very top of the game has been so uplifting.

‘In the league I play in, there are not many black goalkeepers,’ said Vigouroux. ‘Maybe six or seven in 24 teams. It’s even less in the Premier League.

‘I just wanted to say from me, to see what you’re doing is very inspirational. We see you winning the Champions League and we can look to you as a reference point, to try and be more like you, and play more like you, and black out there are a lot of black goalkeepers who don’t play.

‘A lot of kids when they are young, they don’t want to play in goal, especially young black kids, so it’s very inspirational what you’re doing and we hope you continue.’

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