HULL City manager Steve Bruce has defended Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan, saying “there is no racism in him at all” after the former JJB Sports chief was accused of making anti-Semitic remarks.
Whelan has also been criticised by anti-racism groups for reportedly claiming there was “nothing bad” in calling a Chinese person a “chink”, as he defended his decision to appoint a new manager who is already embroiled in a racism row.
Malky Mackay was named the new Latics boss on Tuesday despite being the subject of a Football Association investigation into text messages sent during his time as Cardiff manager.
One text referred to Jewish football agent Phil Smith with the words “Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers”, while in another message, Mackay referred to Cardiff’s Malaysian owner Vincent Tan as a “chink”.
In an interview with the Guardian, Whelan, 77, was reported to have said: “I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else. I don’t think that’s offensive at all.”
He added: “If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman a chink he is lying. There is nothing bad about doing that.”
However he later apologised saying the reported remarks “may have been a misquote”.
He said: “I would never insult a Jewish person. I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of Jewish friends. If anyone takes offence at anything I’ve said, please accept my sincerest apology. It’s either a misquote or on that day I must have done 50 interviews.”
Now Bruce, who worked under Whelan at Wigan, has defended him. “I’ve worked under Dave Whelan twice. He is without question one of the best chairmen I’ve worked for,” he said. “What you see is what you get. There’s no racism in him at all. Sometimes words can be said which can be misplaced, they can be out there in the public domain, but certainly when I’ve worked with him there’s been no sign of racism.”