Police probe launched after former Northampton Town striker is sent vile racist messages

A police probe is set to be launched after a former Cobblers player was subject to vile racist abuse on social media after scoring a winning goal.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 6:18 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 3:08 pm
Ivan Toney, seen here celebrating his goal against Portsmouth, shared the racist Instagram posts he was sent via his Twitter account.

Northampton born striker Ivan Toney shared two messages he had received, including one from an account claiming to support Portsmouth Football Club, after he scored the winner at Fratton Park on Tuesday night.

Portsmouth bosses have slammed the abuse sent to the Peterborough player as ‘abhorrent’ and said they would do everything in their power to identify the person.

Northamptonshire Police is set to launch an investigation into the messages sent to Toney this week.

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A spokeswoman for the force said that they had been ‘made aware’ of the racist Instagram messages which have been reported to Cambridgeshire Police as ‘a hate crime’.

She added: "It is in the process of being transferred to Northamptonshire Police and once that is complete our officers will begin investigating."

Toney played for Northampton Town between 2012 and 2015, scoring 13 goals in 60 appearances - including a memorable bicycle kick against Dagenham and Redbridge in 2014.

The player shared two separate screenshots on Twitter showing the message he had been sent on Instagram, both of which feature emojis of bananas and monkeys.

One of the abusive posts that had been sent to the striker was from a person claiming to be a Portsmouth fan.

In the bio for the account on Instagram, which goes by the name Jack Churcher.

A club statement said: ‘Portsmouth Football Club have been made aware of a racist message sent to Peterborough United player Ivan Toney on social media.

"The individual who sent this abhorrent message claims to be a Pompey fan and the club will do everything in its power to identify them.

"There is no place in football – or indeed society – for racism and it will not be tolerated at Portsmouth Football Club.

"The club have reported this incident to the police and will work to assist them with any investigation.

"We would also like to apologise to Ivan Toney for any distress this incident has caused."

In a statement on Twitter anti-racism campaigners, Kick It Out, wrote: "Good to see swift action from both clubs on this incident and we applaud their uncompromising stance.

"We have offered our support to Ivan Toney and again stress to social media companies that they need to do more to rid their platforms of discrimination.’

Following the emergence of the first racist message sent to Toney, Peterborough branded it as ‘wholly unacceptable’.

A club statement said: "We are aware of a message that has been sent to one of our players on social media of a racist nature this evening.

"The content of that message is wholly unacceptable and we will be reporting it to the football authorities, social networks and the police."