A protest by Birmingham fans against the club’s owners scored a spectacular own goal on Saturday.
The Blues Collective supporter group put up banners in Blackburn before the final Championship of the season – but one has been roundly condemned as racist, with the message reading: ‘Som Ting Wong, It’s Called Dong’.
The banner – made in reference to Blues chief executive Xuandong Ren – has received a backlash from the club and angry supporters, who called it ‘disgusting’, but the fan group have denied accusations of racism.
Birmingham have condemed a fan group after unfurling an offensive banner in Blackburn
The Blues Collective supporter group denied this banner was racist after a backlash
One fan tweeted: ‘How dare Blues Collective think this shit is OK. How dare they put our badge on their racist message!’
Another supporter said: ‘Well done. You’ve completely discredited all the work you’ve been doing.
‘Resulting in racist banners, representing one of the most diverse fanbases in English football. This is disgusting.
‘I want Dong out of our club but this isn’t the way to do it.’
A third said: ‘As a Birmingham City fan, I am absolutely disgusted with racist banner.’
Disgruntled fans have called for the removal of Birmingham chief executive Xuandong Ren
In response the Blues Collective tweeted: ‘Breaking news: 2nd banner is loved in Blackburn and not deemed racist in anyway… by police
‘Buy hey only BCFC fans could find offence.. while being treated like mugs by people they are aimed at.’
More banners were put up in the area around Ewood Park.
One displayed the message: ‘Dong and Co – you’re not fit for purpose – you’ve ruined our club! Mismanagement and no trust!’
While a second read: “We’re 100% behind Bowyer and the team! As for Xuandong Ren, that’s up to them to say!”
Another banner in the vicinity of the stadium carried the message: “We’re 100% behind the men’s and women’s teams! In it together- we’ll still be here when Xuandong Ren and Co are not!”
Birmingham’s dismal season ended with a 5-2 defeat. Head coach Lee Bowyer did not attend due to ‘family reasons’.
In a statement, Birmingham said: ‘One of these banners was undoubtedly racist.
‘This is unacceptable.
‘Whilst the Club will defend and respect supporters’ right to protest and be heard, racism in any form, directed towards anyone, will not be tolerated.
‘In recent weeks the Club has taken a particularly strong stance supporting the anti-racism movement in football.
‘Only last month, the Club staged a seven day social media blackout to fight against abuse in the game.
‘We then joined the rest of the Premier League and fellow EFL Clubs in a second boycott of social media platforms to reiterate our stance.
‘To be clear, there is no place for racism at Birmingham City Football Club.
‘We believe that the overwhelming majority of our supporters will share our disgust at the messaging of the banner, and those responsible for it do not represent our fan base.
‘The police have been notified of the incident and the Club will be offering our assistance to the authorities.’