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Richard ‘Dick’ Hall says football can do ‘more’ to tackle racism

by: theterras

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Dorset EchoWEYMOUTH legend Richard ‘Dick’ Hall believes football can do “more and more” to change conversations about race in the sport.

Hall, 75, played in defence as a right half for the Terras across two spells in the 1960s and 70s and made 252 appearances, scoring seven goals.

His two stints sandwiched an 11-game period at Bournemouth and he would later move to the USA with his American wife.

Terras’ boss at the time, Stan Charlton, put Hall in touch with Ron Newman the contemporaneous Dallas Tornado coach.

Hall was instantly snapped up after a trial and went on to play 122 games for the Texan side, winning the NASL title in 1971 and earning four United States caps after gaining citizenship.

But his work as a coach between 1971 and 2010 with Greenhill School helped change the dialogue over race in football.

He was inducted into the Southwest Preparatory Conference Hall of Honor in 2010 after more than 500 games and 15 Southwest Preparatory Conference titles.

In an interview with FC Dallas, Hall said: “With the Tornado, at the time, there were a number of players of colour who came from different countries. The team stayed at the Baccarat apartments. We were the only Black family there.

“I really didn’t care or recognize it, really. My wife at that time was more affected by it than I was. I was never really exposed to that.

“I faced more racism when I played at home in England because there were very few of us in the football league who were playing in it.

“At the time, there was the issue of immigration in England, that was an issue for the Black players. I was targeted more there than I was here.”

He added: “At that time I was young, 18-19 years-old, coming through the game professionally and I was a younger player, again, who was protected by my teammates.

“There was always that camaraderie in team sports and they protected me a lot, in terms of things that were said and the lot.

“Travelling was an issue when you played away against the opposing teams. In Weymouth, people knew us and knew me but when you went away to play in away games and going to different cities and so forth, that’s when you heard it a lot.

“That’s what I had to deal with and so did a few others.”

Commenting on his time as a coach in Texas, Hall said: “I was at Greenhill as a part-time coach first and just coached the boys’ soccer team.

“In 1982, I believe, I was appointed athletic director (at Greenhill). At the time, most athletic directors were football coaches. Me being a soccer coach, as well, was an additional challenge.

“Trying to push and present new approaches of doing things, especially the sport of soccer.

“A lot of them didn’t have the background or knowledge of the sport, except seeing it played.

“When I came in, there was one other Black coach in Austin. We tried to move some things forward in the way the game was played back then.

“They played NCAA rules – that was one of the biggest challenges we had – trying to get them to move the sport of soccer more towards FIFA.”

Despite footballers taking the knew in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Hall believes much more can be done to raise awareness of racial prejudice.

He said: “I really feel good about that when I see all those athletes step forward and use their platform to address these issues.

“I think we can do more and more. Players are doing that. They’re supporting their programs and different things with their own money, as well. It’s a big step.

“We’ve got to fight this injustice and that’s something people have to do who are in that position, who have influence.

“I give them credit, all the credit in the world for doing it. It’s not easy and even today, it’s not easy to go out there.

“There’s always someone who’s ready to knock you down and see you not be successful.”