City born former Newcastle United defender John Beresford has admitted he racially abused black players from the terraces when he was young.
Beresford, who grew up in Sheffield before playing for clubs which also included Manchester City and Southampton, now works as a campaigner against racism.
The 51-year-old was awarded the MBE last year for his 20 years of work for anti-discrimination group Show Racism The Red Card, but confessed he was once a part of the bigoted terrace culture of the 1970s and 80s.
He told ITV: "In the late seventies black players were few and far between, but I would be doing the monkey chants, and I would be shouting abuse, and things like that.
"I was part of a mob culture and it wasn't a time great for supporters, it was quite volatile.
"When I was younger, I was never told what was right, and what was wrong. Meeting people and understanding how wrong it was, helped change my views."
He also works now as a television pundit for ESPN.
A citation for Mr Beresford's MBE said he was the first white footballer to get involved in the Show Racism the Red Card campaign, working with schools and colleges to address racism in society and sport
“His commitment to educate goes beyond the classroom as having seen the power professional footballers hold as role models,” the nomination said. “He played a leading role in spreading positive messages throughout the professional game and is recognised as being pivotal in increasing the number of professional footballers who now dedicate their time to tackling racism and other forms of discrimination, particularly by going into schools.”