Five weeks later, and even with the Metropolitan Police alerted after their incompetence in July, conflicts erupted again, with the UK united front falling to its knees unable to deter the Hungarian “Carpathian Brigade” of fascist thugs.
It’s no wonder that a growing number of black players are wondering what the end of the game is. Wilfried Zaha has ceased all involvement at Crystal Palace, describing the action as a “degrading” symbol of subjugation, as has Ivan. Toney of Brentford. Tony Burnett, head of Kick It Out, acknowledges that the message has been diluted.
The pervasive sense of helplessness was perfectly captured in the aftermath of Wembley by John Barnes. “Football can do nothing to change racism,” he argued. “Taking the knee isn’t going to change anything.” This may at first glance seem like an unduly fatalistic verdict. But a single revealing image from a horrific night out at Wembley, Kane’s posture framed against that dark Hungarian banner, demonstrates that taking the knee is doomed to continue to divide the very audience it seeks to unify.