As we made our way through the championship the nation was gripped with football fever and the hope that our team could finally bring it home. After what has been a long and difficult 18 months for many we finally had something to look forward to.
Call me naïve, but I was not ready for the torrent of abuse against those that had given us such joy and hope.
I’m sure you will have heard Gareth talk about how the team represented the best of England and was a reflection of the cultural heritage of our nation. It is hard to adequately express the shame and disappointment I feel that the wave of positivity and unity across the country has been overshadowed by the racism of a few who claim to be part of our society.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka showed a level of bravery I can’t imagine - they stepped forward carrying the dreams of 67 million, and this is how they are repaid by cowards hiding behind social media platforms.
As a company we will not tolerate racism, discrimination or harassment of any kind. Our D&I mission of Inclusive by Instinct is our rallying cry to signal this and it is our collective and individual responsibility to put this into practice. As a Group we set out our values and what we stand for and expect everyone to demonstrate these. I firmly believe that our differences are what makes us great, sparks creativity, debate and it is only when we pull together in the same direction that our business is a success.
As individuals we must all do our bit to ally to those who need our support and speak out when we see our values undermined. We want to encourage open discussion and create an environment where everyone can bring their true self to work without the fear of prejudice or ridicule.
I, for one, uphold the values which we saw from our England team on Sunday night, they are the young men who will carry our dreams into the World Cup next year and I am right behind them.