Hundreds of Birmingham City football fans marched through their home city this afternoon to stand against racism, in response to scenes of far-right violence in London last month.

Organised by former football ‘hooligan’ Marc Gauntlett and fellow Blues supporter Keith Batchboy, the protest walk set off from outside St Andrew’s stadium in Small Heath, made its way through Digbeth and ended in Victoria Square for a rally and speeches.

Birmingham City football fans united against racism in Victoria SquareLensi Photography
Marc Gauntlett (centre) with fellow Birmingham City football fans united against racism in Victoria Square

The anti-racist march was held to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and in honour of local man Trevor Smith, who was tragically shot dead by armed police last year.

Despite the number of attendees estimated at around 300 by reporters and 2,000 by organisers, the event was a peaceful gathering of BCFC supporters from all backgrounds who joined forces to voice their solidarity against racism and hate.

Marc Gauntlett, who led the march with friends, hopes it will bring together football fans and former ‘hooligans’, “uniting people of all backgrounds against hate.”

Gauntlett was active in The Zulu Warriors hooligan firm which supports Birmingham City Football Club, and has left behind a life of violence related to hooliganism. Now reformed, he wants to show that football fans must rise beyond racist attitudes and challenge racism in the sport.

Marc Gauntlett with his late friend Trevor Smith, who was killed by armed police in BirminghamSupplied
Marc Gauntlett with his late friend Trevor Smith, who was killed by armed police in Birmingham

Speaking to I Am Birmingham, Gauntlett was keen to explain that while many hooligan firms are racist, he did not feel the Zulus were one of them, and is proud of their multicultural and multiracial membership.

“Many of the football firms, there’s s till a lot of racism going on. Some of the [Black Lives Matter] protests have been really good, really great, all mixed races… but it’d good to show that Black lives do matter as well as every other life, I fully agree with it to be honest with you.”

Following scenes of ‘hooligan firms’ and far-right agitators fighting police officers London last month, Gauntlett said he wanted to show not all football fans and groups were racist or violent. “Most of the people who went to London went to cause trouble”, he said.

Marc Gauntlett is a former football hooligan now campaigning against racism photo journalism lensi photographyLensi Photography
Marc Gauntlett is a former football hooligan now campaigning against racism

Blues supporters march against racism

Former football hooligan Barrington 'One Eye Baz' Patterson poses with fellow BCFC fans at the anti-racism marchLensi Photography
Former football hooligan Barrington ‘One Eye Baz’ Patterson (second right) poses with fellow BCFC fans at the anti-racism march

Congregating outside the Birmingham City Football Club grounds at 12.30pm, numbers swelled as the march got underway just after 1pm today.

Displaying national flags representing England, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, Ireland and several other Asian and African countries, supporters walked together chanting anti-racist slogans and carrying placards and banners.

Alongside Marc, fellow ‘Zulu Warriors’ including Barrington ‘One Eye Baz’ Patterson also joined the afternoon of action, wearing a face mask and a hoodie bearing the slogan “Straight Outta Handsworth”. Barrington previously attended the 4,000-strong Black Lives Matter demonstration in Centenary Square on June 4.

Marc Gauntlett leads the anti-racism march through the city centreLensi Photography
Marc Gauntlett leads the Blues supporters’ anti-racism march through Birmingham city centre

As the activists marched through Digbeth High Street, cheers were heard as they passed by a large street art mural spelling out the words “Black Lives Matter“.

David Hughes, a long-term Blues supporter and member of Keep Racism Out of St Andrews, joined the march to show his support.

“It was an impressive turnout and clear message to the Democratic Football Lads Alliance and the far-right they are not welcome at St Andrews,” he told I Am Birmingham.

“They like to present themselves as the voice of working class fans but this was the true voice, black and white supporters saying Black Lives Matter.

“Organisations like Birmingham Stand Up to Racism and Blues 4 All do great work, but hats off to the organiser of this march Marc Gauntlett. He lost a close friend and fellow Zulu, Trevor Smith, who was shot dead by police. It shows the racism and police shootings in the USA are also an issue here. That is why there have been quite a few Black Lives Matter protests here in Birmingham.”

David Hughes from 'Keep Racism Out of St Andrews' joined the anti-racism protest march Supplied
David Hughes from ‘Keep Racism Out of St Andrews’ joined the anti-racism protest march

In Victoria Square, speakers expressed unity and solidarity against hate. Amongst them was celebrated local grime artist and loyal Blues fan JayKae. Real name Janum Khan, the British rapper and actor from Small Heath cheered on supporters as they sang popular team chants.

Speaking into a megaphone at the base of the city’s iconic Queen Victoria statue, former city Zulu Walton “Wally” Wilkins, 56, told crowds that football fans “hiding behind the Zulu name” while spreading right-wing hate were not welcome.

“When we say ‘Black Lives Matter’, we’re not putting down anybody else’s life… we’re just uplifting Black lives at that moment. We’re not disrespecting anybody else. The majority of us here are Birmingham City fans, we go under the banner of ‘Zulus’, this is what it means.

“In 1982, the name came about in Manchester because of the large number of Black faces that were there. But when we shout or sing about ‘Zulus’, we’re not just singing it because we’re Black, it’s for everybody.

“You’re not offended to be called a ‘Zulu’, which is a South African Black warrior, so if you cannot be offended by the name Zulu, don’t be offended when someone says ‘Black Lives Matter’ because that is what we’re about.”

Walton "Wally" Wilkins speaks to the crowd about why Black lives matterLensi Photography
Walton “Wally” Wilkins speaks to the crowd about why Black lives matter

Responding to the eventful march and rally, co-organiser Marc wrote on social media:

“Wow, what I seen today was unreal we only expected a few hundred but there was close to 2,000 of Birmingham city’s finest, white, Black, Asian, every culture, young lads, older lads, and we shown the UK how we are.

“We are Birmingham city, one family, no matter what race or colour… BCFC! We wanna thank you all, we smashed it!”


Here’s more photos of the Birmingham City fans anti-racism march:


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Marc Gauntlett with other city fans in Victoria SquareLensi Photography

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Birmingham City fans pose in "Straight Outta Handsworth" and "United Colours of Birmingham" shirts at anti-racist marchLensi Photography

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Birmingham City fans at anti-racist march in BirminghamLensi Photography

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Birmingham City Fans including Marc Gauntlett, Tyson J Leon, and "Pop Eye" at the Birmingham anti-racism marchLensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans hold an anti-racism march and rally in Birmingham's Victoria Square on 04.07.20Lensi Photography

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Marc Gauntlett and speakers at the Birmingham City FC fans anti-racism march and rally in Birmingham's Victoria Square on 04.07.20Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City fans hold up various flags during anti-racist marchLensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City FC fans attend an anti-racism march and rally in Victoria Square on 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

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Birmingham City fans hold an anti-racism march in Birmingham city centre, passing the iconic Bullring shopping centre - 04.07.20 Lensi Photography

WATCH: Why Blues fans held an anti-racism march:


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https://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/BCFC-fans-BLM-march-04.07.20-IAB-800x508.pnghttps://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/BCFC-fans-BLM-march-04.07.20-IAB-300x190.pngStaff ReporterActionBLMCommunityEventsNewsPoliticsRacismSportsAnti-Racism,anti-racism march,Baggies,Barrington 'One Eye Baz' Patterson,Barrington Patterson,BCFC,Birmingham city,Birmingham City Football Club,Black Lives Matter,BLM,BLM UK,Blues,Blues fans,City,City Centre,community,David Hughes,demonstration,Digbeth,football,football fans,hooligans,Janum Khan,JayKae,Keith Batchboy,Marc Gauntlett,March,news,One Eye Baz,Police Brutality,Protest,protest march,Protesters,Racism,racism in football,Rally,Small Heath,Sport,St Andrew's,Trevor Smith,UK,united,Unity,Victoria Square,Wally Wikins,Walton Wilkins,West Midlands,Zulu WarriorsHundreds of Birmingham City football fans marched through their home city this afternoon to stand against racism, in response to scenes of far-right violence in London last month. Organised by former football 'hooligan' Marc Gauntlett and fellow Blues supporter Keith Batchboy, the protest walk set off from outside St Andrew's stadium in Small Heath, made...The latest news, updates and events in Birmingham