When Neil told his daughter not to bring a black man home, she shot him a look of disgust.
It was at that point that he realised his views were wrong and that he was a racist.
Neil admits to casually using the N and P-words in everyday conversation and said that he was ‘basically a bigot’.
He would join in with racist and homophobic chants at football games, and said it ‘normalised’ racism in other walks of life.
His daughter Millie struggled with his attitude to people of a different race.
She said: ‘One of the things he used to say was: “You can’t have a black boyfriend. Don’t bring a black boy home”.
‘Or we’d walk past people who were selling the Big Issue and it would be: “We only buy them from English people, because they can just go home and be homeless there.”
Neil suggested he used to be casually, rather than overtly, discriminatory.
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He’s ‘much closer now’ with Millie after she challenged her Dad’s behaviour.
He said: ‘I think it was probably seeing the look of disgust on Millie’s face when I made comments.’
Neil was speaking in an interview with the BBC ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier against Hungary on Thursday.
It’s their first match since the Euro 2020 final loss to Italy, which was marred by racist abuse of England’s three young black forwards who missed penalties – Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka.
Football culture appeared to have a powerful negative impact on Neil, who said he grew up in a small village where only one black family lived.
His move aged 16-17 to a town with a ‘large minority population’ came as a ‘shock to the system’.
He said he ‘didn’t know how to deal with it so I just went along with what everyone else was doing’.
Neil added: ‘I don’t really want to be that sort of role model for her – being a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, basically a bigot isn’t what I want to show Millie when she’s growing up.
‘I try to teach other people, the way that Millie’s taught me.’
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