Ben Mee, captain for Burnley, said he was humiliated after an obscene banner flew over the Etihad Stadium. This was during Manchester City’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley on Monday night.
In the early stages of the Team’s first Premier League outing since the restart of the competition, a plane carrying the message ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ flew over the ground.
Ironically, this came just moments after both sides’ players took the knee at kick-off in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign.
Before the end of the game, the club released a strongly worded statement and Mee subsequently exposed his disappointment.
“We as a group of players condemn it, we’re ashamed, we’re embarrassed,” Mee told.
He felt it had influenced the success of the squad:
“It definitely had a massive impact on us to see that in the sky. We were embarrassed, disappointed, upset. We are embarrassed that our name was in it.
“That they tried to attach it to our club. It doesn’t belong anywhere near our club. Fans like that don’t deserve to be around football.”
The club statement also added that the offenders at Turf Moor were not welcome, and if found, would be suspended for life.
“This, in no way, represents what Burnley Football Club stands for,” it read.
The incident also disappointed Clarets manager Sean Dyche, who did not see the plane at the time.
Dyche said: “As a club, we can only apologise. It is unacceptable.”
For Burnley, who were weakened by injuries and the absence of a number of players whose contracts are set to expire next week, it was a chastening night on field.
The outstanding Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez both scored for City twice while David Silva scored as well.
Dyche has indicated that he was disappointed by the contract situation.
“We are in incredible financial shape,” he said. “We are a club that has been run very well, financially, down the years and that has allowed us to come through this period without questions.
“But decisions have to be made. I can only advise, which I have done, but the chairman has made different decisions.”
Dyche also conceded his team were outplayed by City: “They’re top class. Some people suggest they have not been as strong this season but they have still got top-class players. It was always going to be a big ask.”
Meanwhile, Machester City boss Pep Guardiola was pleased with the performance of his side.
He said: “We played really well – a solid performance, especially in the beginning. The first goal and second helped us a lot.”
Asked about the banner incident, Guardiola said: “Of course white lives matter – but the black lives matter too. Human beings matter, everyone.
“I have travelled a lot around the world and lived in many countries. Everyone one of us, we are all the same.”
However, a big drawback for City came shortly before half-time with the loss of record goalscorer Sergio Aguero with a recurrence of a knee injury.
Guardiola now thinks the Argentine may miss the rest of the season.
“It doesn’t look good, unfortunately. He was struggling for the last month with a problem in the knee,” Guardiola said. “We will see tomorrow exactly what he has but it doesn’t look good for the season.”