Raw. 16 days on. I am waking up most nights having visualised taking that penalty, and missing. Would I receive the level of vitriolic abuse because I happened to be disabled? Hand on heart. Yes. So depressing.
Repulsed. Sickened. Ashamed. The vile social media aimed at those young black players. From an immediate crushing disappointment to a realisation I was chasing the wrong victory. Alongside so many people the fight has been for diversity and inclusion. And this happened. After events in the last 18 months you could believe we are back to square one. We are not but our diverse society is fragile. Anchored in sand.
I was in Ireland years ago when the England game was abandoned. No disabled area so I sat in the stand and watched my wheelchair being thrown onto the pitch. Surrounded by pernicious sheep singing songs they didn’t understand. The day had been brilliant. The evening diabolical. I have never travelled with England again.
Racism and prejudice will never win. Diversity will. And this current generation will be our salvation. Last week a member of my staff, at 20, stepped up and led the team. I could never have done it at her age.
There is hope. No penalty. Just a far more important victory to be won.