London councillor has spoken about the “disgusting” racist abuse he and his son were subjected to by football fans when returning from a match – and thanked an elderly supporter who stepped in to defend them.
Liverpool fan Mas Patel was travelling back to London with his son Zenadin, 12, after watching his team beat Brentford 3-0 at Anfield on Sunday.
On the train to Euston just before 6pm the pair had to endure a group of 20 to 30 young Brentford fans chanting racist and homophobic slurs.
When Mr Patel, a Newham Labour councillor, posted a video of the abuse on Twitter he was escorted from the carriage “for his own safety” by train staff.
He told the Standard: “It was very very uncomfortable. A group of Brentford fans, all in their teens and twenties, were saying all sorts of disgusting things.
“The train was jam packed and we couldn’t move. I hoped it would die down a bit, but as the booze was flowing it just got worse. They were chanting racist things saying the p-word, anti-Semitic slurs, homophobic slurs. It was shameful.
“My son was getting upset. I posted a video of them of Twitter, tagging in the police and train company, and within minutes they saw the tweet.
“They came up to me and said ‘are you this councillor’ in a threatening way pointing at their phone. They were accusing me of trying to ruin their careers and get them fired from their jobs.
“I was getting angry and told them they should be ashamed. A white man in a yellow Brentford shirt, he must of been in his seventies, stepped in and defended us.”
Brentford FC said it was investigating.
Mr Patel said he wants to find the Brentford fan who stood up for him to thank him.
He added: “ I couldn’t believe it. He got up and said how disgusted he was with these young lads and said they were not a part of his club and they should be ashamed of themselves.
“I just want to find him and buy him a beer because that can’t have been an easy thing to do.”
Mr Patel and Zenadin were moved to another carriage by Avanti West Coast staff.
/ Mas Patel
But when the train arrived at Euston, he said security had to escort them to a taxi because the group of Brentford fans waited for them outside the station and then followed them to the car.
He added: “It was a scary situation. You don’t expect things like that. I go to matches all the time and have never experienced abuse like that.”
Mr Patel said Brentford had been in touch with him and invited him and his son to the ground in west London.
A Brentford FC spokesman said: “We condemn any abusive or discriminatory behaviour that has taken place.
“We will be investigating and will follow up on these awful reports. We are a club for all. Discrimination has no place at Brentford FC.”
British Transport Police encouraged Mr Patel to report the abuse and created a crime reference for him after viewing the videos posted on Twitter.
However Mr Patel said he did not necessarily want a criminal investigation.
“I don’t want to ruin their careers,” he said.
“We all say and do stupid things when we are young. I wanted to call it out because it’s not banter.
“My only hope is they learn from this. I want to sit down them to make them realise that this behaviour, subjecting someone to that kind of racist and homophobic language is wrong and has a real impact on people.
“This won’t stop me taking my son to matches. But it’s football’s shame and the authorities need to take some action on this. No more empty slogans or PR campaigns. Be racist, chant bigotry and you face being banned.”