Understandably, today’s revelations from Esmael Goncalves in the Evening News provoked plenty of reaction from Hearts fans.
The Portuguese forward, who claims his family could no longer come to Tynecastle Park and watch him play after a minority of fans made racist comments towards him, left the club last month to join Uzbek side Pakhtakor Tashkent.
Many Hearts fans took to social media and supporters forums to have their say on Goncalves’ allegations and although a small number were sceptical about his words, many defended him and called for the club and its fans to stamp out any racially-motivated abuse towards players.
Here are a selection of some of the best posts:
• “Anyone hearing racial abuse should report it. Take note of who it is, seat numbers etc and get in touch with the club/police. Disgusting and shameful. Even though it’s apparently only a few it’s disgraceful for our club to be dragged down by it. I don’t understand why he never went to the club or even police about it at the time though? It would of been dealt with. If I ever heard anyone around me come out with that filth I wouldn’t sit and do nothing” – 1971fozzy on Jambos Kickback
• “There can only be one reaction to this and that is to root out the idiots who behave this way. I never heard it personally either but don’t doubt the dozens of people who say they have. Yes he was a frustrating player, yes he should have said something sooner. But I believe him” – Colin Scott on Twitter
• “I completely believe it. I sat in lower G a few years ago where there were a couple of older blokes who regularly came out with rubbish like that if one of our black players was having a poor game. Sad thing was one of them was bringing his young teenage son to the games. I hold my hand up and admit I never done anything at the time, other than a glance round and a dirty look. One of the reasons I moved away from that area as I couldn’t stand being near those idiots” – Nobreath on Jambos Kickback
• “Disappointing in this day and age, to hear this from a player. It’s up to the decent hearts fans to name and shame these racists” – Marc Swan on Facebook
• “Very disappointing the number of @JamTarts fans burying their heads in the sand on this one. I’ve had a season ticket for 17 years and believe me this happens. HMFC need to sort it” – Matt Horsman on Twitter
• “That is shocking and along with the idiotic minority bringing sectarianism back they should hang their heads in shame. We have had many black players for decades now and many have been club greats. It just beggars belief we have cretins like that in our support” – All Roads Lead To Gorgie on Jambos Kickback
• “I hate to say that there’s still a minority of supporters who are racist, bigoted, or sexist. Out them and get rid of them. Isma wasn’t great, but the abuse against need never have been racial in nature. Good luck to the lad in future. I hope you find a support that lets you show your full ability” – Roger Hannah on Facebook
• “What a shame there is a minority within our support who think this is acceptable? Nobody can deny or confirm this but if it happened then it’s shocking” – Gael Barrie on Facebook
• “Decent Hearts fans should be reporting these clowns and challenging this behaviour. Hope the fans that read this, think again about how they act at matches” – Brian Gunn on Facebook
• “Let’s just call it out straight off – it’s racism. And racism (and racists) can get out of Tynecastle” @jamb0skickback on Twitter
• “Doesn’t surprise me in the slightest sadly. I never heard any of these comments but there’s a running theme on players some Hearts fans seem to single out for the worst abuse” – Mauricio Pinilla on Jambos Kickback
• “Absolute scum. Zero tolerance from now on. Lengthy/lifetime bans for those found guilty. They should be made to pass a rehabilitation course if they ever want to return. I heard Isma get a lot of abuse but personally never heard anything mentioning his colour. Always seem to be a few in our crowd who are to quick to condemn him. Its definitely there here and it can’t be denied. This could affect our recruitment if it’s not nipped in the bud” – Regal Kingston on Jambos Kickback
• “Happened at every game I was at, so let’s not pretend it didn’t happen. Sadly would happen at any Scottish club he played for as some fans are stuck in the stone age. It’s just banter though, eh? Embarrassing” – Paul Falconer on Facebook
• “Difficult to hear what Isma has said he heard from the fans. Utterly evil no matter how small the group. Scottish football really does bring shame to the game sometimes” – Lewis Frain on Twitter