Nathan Blake subject of alleged racist abuse as youth player at Chelsea
Former Wales striker Nathan Blake has claimed he was the subject of racist abuse as a youth player at Chelsea.
Blake, 45, alleges a "culture" of racism existed during his time at the club as a teenager.
"It is the culture that was created. It is not any specific club. It is people within clubs," he claimed to BBC Wales.
A spokesman for Chelsea said the club would support any investigation. He said: "We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously."
He added: "We are absolutely determined to do the right thing, to assist the authorities and any investigations, and to fully support those affected which would include counselling for any former player that may need it."
Blake's allegations come after the Guardian reported that former Chelsea youth-team coaches Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams allegedly racially abused black players during the 1990s.
Both coaches denied "all and any allegations of racial or other abuse" in a statement from their lawyers.
Nathan Blake's allegations
Blake claims "a lot went on that should not have happened" while he was an apprentice at Stamford Bridge and that he was not the only subject of racist abuse.
"I had a real super hero strong mother who brought us up to understand racism and to never accept it, and to deal with it if it confronts you.
"[The Chelsea coaches] weren't expecting replies from a dippy little Welsh kid with an afro. They were thinking I was a little kid from woolly-back Wales and wouldn't have a clue.
"Other apprentices at the time, they had been there so long they would say to me, 'You kind of get used to it'.
"These were black players and I was like, 'No, how do you think this?' I am fighting my corner and I'm on my own fighting my corner.
"It was confusing to the point of having a mixed-race player and even he would call the black players derogatory names. The coaches would say you can't fight everyone, but I said 'no, if it is done on the pitch I would rather you comfort me and tell me it is not like that in here, just out there'.
"I did speak to management about it but you can only go so far. I spoke to coaches and the response was, 'We are doing it for your benefit.' Then it was more cutting a deal, 'Ok we won't do it to you.' It was ignorant beyond belief.
"If they say it to others, they are saying it to me. But they would say, 'It is part and parcel'."
'Delighted' to leave
Blake was released by the London club in 1990 and the striker, who went on to have a successful career with eight clubs and won 29 international caps, claims he intentionally got himself released.
"I had turned up late the previous week and been told if I turned up late again I was out, so I did, deliberately," he said.
"I wasn't glad to leave Chelsea, I was delighted. It wasn't the strong surviving, the weak did - it depended if you could take the abuse or not."
The 'pain never leaves you'
Blake added that while he was subject to alleged racist abuse at Chelsea, he blames individuals rather than the club itself, but was scared to speak out at such an early point in his career.
"Someone is doing it more than you ever heard before and they are in control of your destiny. They are [saying] you are not allowed to react.
"The problem is you can't be the Pied Pier of racism, at that time at that club, and then not own it. It comes back and that's karma.
"You have got a lot of people on the bandwagon, a lot of players and staff. This was the culture that was created by people - not clubs, people.
"If it wasn't so extreme, I would say, I couldn't forgive it but I could understand it, I am an adult.
"What they don't understand is that pain never leaves you."