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Villa's Knight rejected Ireland over racist threats

Aston Villa defender Zat Knight has revealed racists convinced him not to turn out for the Republic of Ireland.

Knight gave serious consideration to pulling on an emerald green jersey four years ago before his mind was cruelly made up by bigoted fans.

Racist letters objecting to Knight playing for Ireland because of the colour of his skin were addressed to him at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground.

"I would have been eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland through my grandmother's background," Knight told the Sunday Mercury. "She's from Dublin and my granddad was from Jamaica, although he's passed away now, and they met in England and settled down.

"It wasn't really a choice of mine to play for the Republic of Ireland but when they found out I could play they asked me and it all got blown up. I got some racist letters from some ignorant fans from over there so that was the end of it really for me.

"It's not nice in any walk of life getting abuse like that but I took it with a pinch of salt and their loss was someone else's gain."

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Tribal Football Staff

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