Man City ‘racist’ denies allegations he made monkey gestures at Manchester United midfielder Fred

Tom Kershaw
The Independent
A Manchester City fan allegedly aimed a racial gesture at Manchester United players: EPA
A Manchester City fan allegedly aimed a racial gesture at Manchester United players: EPA

The Manchester City supporter arrested after allegedly making monkey gestures at Manchester United midfielder Fred has claimed he was “putting my hands in my pants” rather than being racist.

Anthony Burke, a 41-year-old Army veteran, appeared to direct the abuse at Fred at the same time the Brazilian midfielder was struck by objects thrown by fans near the corner flag.

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On Saturday, the former soldier who reportedly served in Northern Ireland, wrote on Facebook: “Listen, I’m only racist c*** because I had a screenshot that made me look it. However I ain’t racist, watch the match half of it was me with me putting my hands in my pants.

“B******* not a**** I know the true and I’ve already made appointment to speak to the police which I did so think what you like.”

Burke’s ex-partner confirmed to MailOnline on Sunday he was the man arrested by Greater Manchester Police in connection with the incident. She also claimed she had received death threats.

“I am really surprised – this is not like him – his family are black,” she said. “I keep watching the footage back and I can’t say whether he’s done it or not. Has he done it or hasn’t he done it?

A statement released by GMP read: ”A 41-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order and remains in custody for questioning.”

Superintendent Chris Hill of the City of Manchester Division said the force was taking the matter “extremely seriously”.

“I would like to thank the public for their ongoing support with this incident,” he said. “Racism of any kind has no place in football or our society and I hope this arrest shows that we are taking this matter extremely seriously.

A Manchester City fan allegedly aimed a racial gesture at Manchester United players (EPA)
A Manchester City fan allegedly aimed a racial gesture at Manchester United players (EPA)

After the incident, Fred told ESPN Brazil: “Unfortunately, we are still in a backward society. [It is a shame] we still have to live with that in 2019. On the field, I didn’t see anything. I saw it only in the locker room afterwards.

“The guys showed me... I try not to care about that. I try to look ahead. Unfortunately, this is happening in some stadiums. It happened here, it happened in Ukraine with some friends. It’s sad, but we have to keep our heads up and forget about that.

“We can’t give them any attention because that’s all they want. I spoke to the referee after the match, they will do something about it and that’s all. We are all the same regardless of skin colour, hair and gender.

“We came from the same place and we all go to the same place when it’s all said and done. Thank God I have a lot of friends here in the locker room who hugged me, like Lingard. I don’t want to think about it. I just want to move on.”

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