IT was very sad that the recent success of Gareth Southgate’s team was tarnished by the racism in Montenegro.

This sort of behaviour has been around too long.

Many years ago, when we played at Portsmouth, I kept wondering why our left winger George Lawrence was moving inside too often.

It was because he was trying to escape the coins and even bananas that were being thrown at him.

Wingers like George and Danny Wallace were easy targets, they were so much closer to the fans in those days, although I never witnessed any racism at The Dell.

On the surface at least, the black lads in our side – who also included the Wallace brothers and Reuben Agboola - would laugh it off afterwards.

That was what happened when we won.

We would say we came away with a bag of coins, two pounds of bananas and three points.

But it’s a serious matter and hurtful and it was certainly right for the FA to report what happened.

If it carries on countries who offend like that should be banned from taking part in any competitions.

No suspensions, just a long-term ban.

If they really love football that would stop this sort of thing happening.

Hands up if you know what’s the biggest sports event in the world this year.

Many of you will not realise it’s just finished. The Special Olympics are held every four years, always the year before the main Olympics and this year the venue was Abu Dhabi.

I’ve been involved for about 20 years and am president of the GB team but, due to a lack of funding available to send board members, this was the first big event I’ve missed.

However, along with a few staff, we were able to send 128 athletes from all around Britain, including our own Warren Clark.

A six-handicap golfer from north Baddesley, he finished fourth in the world.

In total there were an incredible 7,500 athletes from 190 countries taking part in 24 different sports and our team came home with 169 medals - 63 gold, 57 silver and 49 bronze.

The Special Olympics are for athletes who have learning disabilities. They are probably nearly two million in Britain alone.

Getting families together for their youngsters to take part in all different sports is amazing.

The main reason I’m banging the drum is because of a lack of funding compared to what similar charities receive.

Next Tuesday I’m attending a reception in the House of Commons. There will be nothing to do with Brexit I hope, but there will be a welcome home function for some of our Special Olympians along wit the chaimran and myself as president.

So at least it’s been recognised and I’ll take the opportunity to be there.

While there I will make sure I ask any politicians present, when they see the results at the Special Olympics and how much it means to so many families, why they do not give the event more funding.

I’m hoping one of the attendees will be one of our local MPs, Ms Mims Davies from Eastleigh.

I’ve left messages with her office as she happens to be the Sports Minister.

For me, the Special Olympics are more important than whether we leave Europe or not.

So watch this space and if you know anyone with a learning disability look up SOGB.

As I’ve said before, there’s a local group called Southampton OTARS (Oaklands Team & Recreational Sports), a club run by Southampton Council that supports adults with learning disabilities, whose athletes are able to take part in games.

The next big event will be the British Games in Liverpool in 2021.