Home » Witness Statement re: Antonio Rudiger Incident
Witness Statement re: Antonio Rudiger Incident
By Harry Hotspur -

This was received this morning. It is a letter providing a witness statement from a fan in the thick of the crowd, where the allegation made by Chelsea’s Antonio Rudige focuses.

Spurs hosted bitter London rivals Chelsea over the weekend in a game that would send out a big message over the festive period, as to which side was most convincingly geared up for a tilt at a top four finish in Premier League. This competition always heats up towards the close the year, and fans will be weighing up the odds with all-best-betting-sites.com in order to get the best value for when the season closes in May.

I have just sent the following email to Donna Cullen (Spurs Director), Bruce Buck (Chelsea Chairman), Nigel Adams (Minister for Sport), David Lammy (MP for Tottenham), Mark Bullingham (CEO of the FA), Kick It Out, the Premier League, the Press Association and the joint chair people of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust:

To all concerned,

There is a photograph taken at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on Sunday of Antonio Rudiger, Harry Kane and the referee, Anthony Taylor, in discussion after the sending off of Heung Min Son. It appeared on both the Telegraph and Guardian website front pages. I post the link here:

In the stands, immediately behind Harry Kane’s head, you can see a tall, rather angry looking, middle aged man pointing his finger in Antonio Rudiger’s direction. That man is me. I begin with this revelation, for want of a better word, because I wish to establish that there can hardly have been more than half a dozen fans in the stadium who were closer to where Sunday’s big talking point unfolded than me. I was probably less than twenty yards away.

And I am as convinced as it is possible to be that there was no racism directed at Antonio Rudiger. I could not be more certain that this unprecedented media storm is, in fact, the consequence of a huge misunderstanding on Antonio Rudiger’s part.

To be clear, please do not mistake my stance for that of someone who lightly dismisses or excuses racism; or for that of a fan incapable of objectivity and in denial about the possibility that racists exist within all clubs’ fan bases. For me, the fight to eradicate racism in football far exceeds in importance and worthiness the desire to defend my club’s reputation. I know that there are racists among all fan bases – Spurs included. And should I ever witness racism from Spurs fans, I would want the full force of the law to bear down on them.

So, to the events of Sunday afternoon and why I so wholeheartedly believe what I believe. By way of background, for what it’s worth, I have no real argument with Son’s sending off. He did make a slight, if aborted, move of his feet towards Rudiger as he tumbled. And such an action is likely to result in a red card.

Nevertheless, that can’t excuse Antonio Rudiger’s reaction. Jose Mourinho said it best when he sarcastically wished the Chelsea defender a speedy recovery from the multiple broken ribs that he must have suffered. There is nothing more cowardly within football than feigning injury in order to get an opposition player sent off.

As English football fans are wont to do in such circumstances, thousands of us in the south stand chanted “cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat…” at Antonio Rudiger. It was at that specific moment that he turned and gestured angrily at us before going to his captain / the referee to complain about having been the target of monkey noises.

When English is not your first language and when you are unfamiliar with English fan culture, 5000 or so English fans chanting “cheat, cheat, cheat….” at a fast tempo and unsynchronized could, I suspect, sound very much like monkey noises. The timing of Antonio Rudiger’s angry gesture towards the fans and immediate subsequent discussions with his captain and the referee confirms that suspicion.

The only alternative is that Antonio Rudiger is claiming that he heard a lone voice making monkey noises. And if that is the case, then I say that Antonio Rudiger is a liar. There is not the remotest chance that he could have isolated that lone voice above the nigh on identical sound of 5000 fans repeatedly shouting “cheat”.

Of course, it is possible that, in a quieter moment, Antonio Rudiger heard this lone, racist voice. But no one else did. Nor could Spurs’ and the police’s forensic CCTV study of every fan in the crowd identify a guilty party. Besides, I am quite confident that the person to whom this lone voice belonged would have been quickly shopped – or at least shopped by now – if he existed. Spurs fans do not tolerate racism. So I can only conclude that this person does not exist. And since I have no reason to believe that Antonio Rudiger would lie about such a serious matter, the only remaining, plausible explanation that fits the facts is that he mistook chants of “cheat” for monkey noises. That’s why he gestured angrily at fans in the south stand. He couldn’t have been reacting to anything else.

In the meanwhile, the name and reputation of Spurs fans has been dragged through the mud. There has been an unprecedented level of coverage and outcry concerning Sunday’s events – wholly out of proportion with any previous instance of alleged racism. It is more than a little ironic given that, more than any club’s fans, Spurs fans have repeatedly been on the receiving end of genuine, vile racist abuse that has repeatedly received little to no media coverage.

So I believe that, given the evidence that I have supplied above and given the complete absence of any evidence pointing to anyone having [sic] directed monkey noises at Antonio Rudiger, Spurs and Spurs fans are owed an apology that is every bit as widely disseminated, loudly proclaimed and sincerely meant as the accusations and opprobrium that has rained down on us for the past few days.

Antonio Rudiger should be presented with the facts as I saw them and asked if he hasn’t, in fact, made an innocent mistake – albeit one that has had huge consequences. There can be no blame directed at him for such an innocent mistake, so he should not feel afraid to admit it. Far better that than to stubbornly stick to his story without knowing, beyond doubt, that he genuinely heard what he thought he heard.

I could not be more aware that the fight to eradicate racism within football is of paramount importance. And I fully acknowledge that those charged with the running of clubs and the game more generally have a great responsibility to support players who are subject to racism. Rightly so. But I therefore suspect that, if no evidence of racism is found in this instance, the matter will be allowed to fade from public attention without further comment being made.

And the stain of racist abuse will linger and taint the reputation of Spurs and Spurs fans henceforward. And that is not fair. And it does a disservice to the genuine fight against racism. I cannot and will not allow this to happen. I hope to see positive action from each of you to whom I have sent this email.

If you wish to contact me for further discussion, please do so. If you wish to publish or use what I have written for further discussion elsewhere, you have my permission – so long as you do not edit it to alter its meaning in any way, however subtle. If nothing is done and if no evidence of racist behaviour is found and presented to the media, then I will have to consider what further action I (with the help of other Spurs fans) might have to take to make right the wrong that I believe has been done to Spurs’ fans.

Thank you all for taking the time to read the above. I hope that it has been of some help. I look forward to your responses and to whatever subsequent action you are able to take.

READ MORE Did Rudiger Punch Heung-Son Min?

READ MORE Did Ref Anthony Taylor Follow The Correct Protocols For Rudiger Allegation?

READ MORE Rudiger Made Identical Allegations In Italy Charges Were Dropped Due To Lack Of Evidence

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33 responses to “Witness Statement re: Antonio Rudiger Incident”

  1. Urbane Sturgeon says:

    Cheers Aitch, and good work to that supporter.

  2. Tom Fahy says:

    From where i was sitting the events unfolded virtually in front of me, i was sitting in level two in the East Stand, almost touching the dividing wall between the south and east stands – I certainly believe I heard the cheat, cheat chants from the South Stand – I left the stadium believing that any chants that the player heard must have come from near where I was sitting. because I don’t believe he could have heard anything coming from the south stand – he was simply too far away to have heard a lone voice.

  3. Glenn Roads says:

    Thanks for that letter. Good to be reminded that there is still a vast majority of honest people. Personally I believe he heard and fully understood the cheat chant and decided to try using it to the teams advantage…as he did getting Son sent off. The way he mimicked an ape for everyone to see just doesn’t seem to me like a person who’s upset at just been racially abused. Of course, we all behave differently and I’m not a Psychologist, but a quiet word to his captain whilst pointing in the direction from where it came or a raving rant to the ref sits better with me. He seemed to act out the charade ‘stop the game because of ape or monkey calls’ and did so in a very calm way. Personal views only but I think he knew exactly what he was doing even if it was brash. He wasn’t mistaken and deserves to be severely punished for taking advantage and making a mockery of the effort genuine people put in to stamp out racism.

    • Ryan Campbell says:

      His reaction looked to me like someone who sees/hears racism in everything. I don’t think he’s lying or making things up. I simply think he’s crazy. Same thing happened at Roma. He heard something no one else did. He’s SOFT. Simple as that.

  4. Baz Cuda says:

    Excellently said. I responded in a similar, albeit briefer, vein to a tweet by Love Sport Radio on the subject. (I too was at the match, to the far left of you in the South Stand over by the corner flag.)
    The last time I ever heard monkey noises aimed at a black player by a small minority of the Spurs crowd was in 1980. Then, Garth Crooks arrived and the home crowd policed itself in stamping out the practice. I was both surprised and very disappointed by the stadium announcements on Sunday, and assumed that the Chelsea fans were singing something I hadn’t picked up on. I was very disturbed at the suggestion that it was Spurs supporters, but then not at all surprised that no supporting evidence has been found, despite our state-of-the-art video monitoring system. Like you, I still believe that the Spurs home crowd would “boo”-out any such noises, even though a lot of them would not have been part of the 80s crowd that did so before, and probably have no knowledge of that having happened. As you say, it would be particularly odd for a Spurs crowd to make racist noises in today’s climate, when so much a part of being a Spurs fan, for decades, has been to conspicuously stand shoulder to shoulder with the targets of racism. I too, hope to see the Spurs supporters vindicated with just as much publicity as Rudiger’s suspect allegations received. I have to admit to not being as trusting of Rudiger as you – I was sceptical on Sunday about the truth of his allegations when I saw the evening news, and my scepticism has increased following the club’s examination of the video footage and their official statement.

  5. Tappaspur says:

    Had a love affair with Tina
    In the back of my Cortina
    A seasoned up hyena could not have been more obscener
    She took me to the cleaners
    And other misdemeanors
    But I got right up her rum and her ribena 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
    First time I’ve ever heard “billericay dickie. Ian dury and the blockheads pressie on YELLOW 180g Vinyl. Brilliant 😁

  6. coys1882 says:

    Well done for posting this H. That is a more than charitable account of the incident from a fan who was as close to the action as it was possible to be. This supporter has defended Rudiger’s honesty or integrity in genuinely believing that he heard ‘monkey noises’ far more than I would. However, I also accept that he was communicating to a number of official bodies, so the nature of his public language probably reflected a more equivocal tone towards the player than it might have in private.

    My own belief is that Rudiger heard what he wanted to hear. He had already shown that he is a dishonest player and manifestly a cheat, for his actions in getting Son sent off, therefore he is eminently capable of being a liar. I suspect he didn’t like the stick he was being given, same as the incident in Roma, wanted to deflect attention from his own dishonourable part in the furore and decided to play the ‘race card’.

    Naturally it is impossible to prove such an allegation and Rudiger would never himself admit it. However the fact that he has ‘form’ in that regard is a tell-tale sign in my opinion. Are there any other players in world football who have made TWO unconfirmed/uncorroborated allegations of racism against opposing fans? If not then the suspicion of guilt should fall on Rudiger and not on the fans so gratuitously traduced by him.

  7. Patrick says:

    I appreciate the honesty in this post- it offers a plausible explanation for Rudiger maybe misinterpreting a harmless chant for racist abuse( which he has suffered before with Roma). But for you to claim that Spurs fans are completely undeserving of the “stain” of being labeled racist is misguided- look no further than the North London Derby last December when Aubemeyang had a banana thrown at him. Spurs fans are no less deserving of being called racist than other fan bases throughout England. as for the comment section… Jesus. If you’re a white match going fan, maybe it would seem like racism isn’t prevalent but as a black man it can be, and often is a totally different experience. for some of you to call into question Rüdigers integrity over calling out racism is despicable— it’s incredibly painful to be the target of hateful chants, there’s nothing to personally gain from “lying” about it except to bring light to the issue that it permeates every layer of English society, most relevantly in this case in football stadia. You want to talk about him damaging the spurs fans reputation? The kind of comments present here— I’m sure thousands of others share— demonstrate a sentiment of ambivalence towards the issue of racism that’s not surprising but discouraging nonetheless. As Aubemeyang can attest to, It’s not like Spurs fans are incapable of racially abusing opposition players, just like every other club, including my own Chelsea. Try to show some empathy and stop looking for every possible reason to paint Rüdiger as a liar for his “role” in Son deservedly being sent off and using that as evidence for him also lying about being racially abused. it’s toxic

    • JimmyGrievance says:

      I’m sorry to say you e looked at this with only one eye open. only 1 side of the story completely ignoring the findings of the claims he’s made or misdeeds by others

    • James McKevitt says:

      When you make claims as serious as this about racist behaviour, you better get your facts right. When a man’s reputation is on the line, maybe his livelihood, and a media frenzy has kicked off, and there is a rush to judgement, with Spurs found guilty without substantial evidence, I’d call that a disgrace. Time will tell who the liar is. Tottenham have acted in good faith in this and will punish any wrong doing, supported by all Spurs fans.

      • Ryan Campbell says:

        “Substantial evidence”??? There’s literally NO evidence that this actually happened. It’s one man’s accusation against thousands of witnesses and loads of video/audio evidence. NONE of which backs up Rudiger. This is a total farce. Rudiger is hearing things!

    • Billy Tonsils says:

      Really like the anti Semetic rubbish your fans used to relish in. I’m a Spurs fan and I was not in a position to hear wether there was any monkey noises or not I obviously hope there wasn’t. Let’s look at the history of CFC Combat 18 blah blah. Seriously I admire your misplaced sentiment but for you to get on your high horse because one player says one thing and the our fans say another have a long way to go.
      Your coke addled racist away fans currently getting spanked up and down the country deserve everything you get.
      You have a very long way to climb before yo can claim the moral high ground.
      How many fans have been arrested for racism at the game…1 yours.
      So sanctimonious …still it is Xmas. How is your money laundering Jewish owner these days. Has he not bought one of Tel Avivs lesser teams.
      You are full of sentiment without fact. Same old same old.

      • Patrick says:

        I am not claiming any moral high ground. Like any club, Chelsea has its share of idiot fans guilty of abusing opposition players and fans– its frankly embarrassing at times and we want them out of our club.

        • Billy Tonsils says:

          Good to hear Patrick.
          And I applaud the fact your fans turned in a racist..progress indeed. But please do not jump an our backs I was devasted by the alleged racism directed at Rudiger….
          I am sure you have decent fans some who have been round the houses
          etc.
          When it comes down to a the football, you schooled us moved the ball quickly tormented us basically.l like the fact FL has had to make do. The sad thing is if he had 18 months you would have a great team with little need for additions but as I suspect time has nothing to do with the PL your chance to build some incredible home grown history will pass and fade just as at Spurs AFC WHUFC the money will come out at all 3. I cannot for the life of me work out why CFC struggle with consistency seems odd.
          Thanks for responding it was good of you I hope you can iron out the worst of the nastiness from your fan base and tbf I haven’t heard the Auschwitz
          hiss from your lot for 2 seasons. Good.
          Lads will row whatever that is different gravy. I just hope the senseless racism ends.
          You can hate us and we can hate you but it has nothing to with race.
          As I say thanks for your response.

        • Billy Tonsils says:

          I replied Patrick hopefully you will see it soon. This site gets tired when overloaded. Cheers for your response.

    • coys1882 says:

      Correction … You are mistaken … Yes, Aubameyang had a banana skin thrown at him, but the incident was investigated by the police and the fan was adjudged to have had no racist motive or intent for his action and charges were dropped.

      The fan admitted to throwing the banana skin having just eaten the banana and being pissed off at Aubeyang taunting the Spurs fans in the away end, after he had just scored, but it was not a racist act.

      Now, as you brought up Rudiger and Roma, it should be noted that Rudiger brought a similar allegation about being subjected to ‘monkey chants’ on his return to Roma. Yet, after exhaustive investigation by UEFA, there was no supporting evidence to his allegations and the charges were dropped.

      As regards Son. Yes, it was a stupid display of petulance, but he hardly touched Rudiger, who shamefully threw himself to the ground theatrically clutching his stomach, to get Son sent off. That is just dishonest and blatant cheating. Any player capable of cheating like that is just as capable of lying about the ‘monkey chants’.

    • Ryan Campbell says:

      “which he has suffered before with Roma” NO. He CLAIMED to have suffered and the charges were dropped for lack of evidence. Go figure. Just like him you simply WANT to believe it’s true. Quit lying.

      • Patrick says:

        Why would I want to believe Rudiger suffered racist abuse? I would not wish that upon anyone, especially as I know how it feels. UEFA are hardly known for rightfully delivering justice, especially regarding racism. I noted in a response to “Is Gascoigne gonna have a crac” that the Bulgarian FA punished themselves more than UEFA did. I share the sentiment of many black footballers in England and Europe that not enough is being done to address racism so dropping charges for “lack of evidence”is hardly surprising.UEFA has an appalling record of appropriately punishing instances of racism. Now, I think Tottenham have acted in good faith–I trust them far more than UEFA — with their investigation and their initial findings have been inconclusive. If in the end of all this, nothing is found then I will hold my hands up and take this fan’s opinion that it Rudiger misinterpreted the situation.

  8. This statement has been given gravitas by the fact it had been thoroughly proof read. I recently installed Grammarly and this chap’s letter was more or less faultless.

    A refreshing break from the “we ain’t got no racists” twaddle that was doing the rounds in some quarters.

    For me, Rudiger’s integrity is on the floor after the Roma incident and the punch he clearly got in on Sonny. Does that automatically mean he made it all up? Who knows. You don’t have to like a man to apply the law to him.

    My understanding is that the CCTV system at THFC is off the scale, if that hasn’t provided any evidence then we’re all running out of credible places to look.

    “Yeah but…” doesn’t really cut it, I’m afraid.

  9. James McKevitt says:

    Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
    ’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
    But he that filches from me my good name
    Robs me of that which not enriches him,
    And makes me poor indeed.
    William Shakespeare, Othello. Honorary Spurs fan.

  10. James McKevitt says:

    It might never be proved conclusively what happened, but I was astonished at the speed this incident travelled at, trial by media and internet and found guilty without a trial or substantial evidence. Any apologies will of course be a long time coming.

  11. JimmyGrievance says:

    To echo other comments. The author has been far more charitable toward Rudiger than I would. His actions on the day and false accusations against Roma shows he lacks integrity.

  12. Tappaspur says:

    IRIE” an blessup Christmas everybody. Got a bonsai tree. Her name’s kizzy. She’s now free and lives in Tottenham. Gonna look after her. 😊

  13. paul says:

    Well done that man.

  14. Lilywhite without the II says:

    Well done H…..excellent post and well done to the fan putting his neck out..

    Happy Holidays…

  15. MrChickenHead says:

    Well I hope this does the media rounds, bet not down here in Aus though.