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Directors box race rant ban.

A BUSINESSMAN who wants to buy into Kilmarnock FC hurled racist abuse at a Celtic star from the directors' box.

Russell Smith has been banned for life from Killie's Rugby Park for calling Bobo Balde 'a black fenian 'b ****** '.

The conservatory firm boss had been linked with a takeover of the club. But a Killie source said: 'The moment that he shouted that vile abuse, he kissed goodbye to his chances of ever walking into Rugby Park again, never mind the boardroom.

'The chairman has said he will sell, and Smith and some pals took notice. That won't happen now.'

Smith was a guest of SPL sponsors Bank of Scotland at Rugby Park when Celtic beat Kilmarnock 4-2 in August.

An onlooker said: 'At one point, he shouted in the direction of Bobo Balde, 'Get right into the black fenian b*****d.' 'He was asked by people around him to keep quiet, but he refused.'

The witness added that the uncle of black Celtic star Henri Camara was sitting within earshot of Smith.

When stewards approached Smith, it's understood he gave another guest's name. The truth came out at half-time when club officials spoke to the person he blamed.

Kilmarnock's general manager, Dave McKinnon, said yesterday: 'We identified a man who was making racist and bigoted remarks against Celtic players.

'He was an invited guest of an associated company and found himself in the directors' box. He was escorted out.

'We have told him he won't be back at Rugby Park.

'We are a family club. If we find evidence of racist or bigoted behaviour, we take immediate action.'

Mr McKinnon said the club also wrote to the Bank of Scotland, who informed Smith he would not be their guest again.

He added: 'The man was approached by officials during the match but denied it was him. It wasn't until we did a further investigation on the Monday that we found out who he was.'

A Bank of Scotland source said: 'It would be fair to say he won't be back as one of our guests.'

Smith runs Rainbow Conservatories, who have branches throughout the west of Scotland. Sources say he and a group of friends have expressed an interest in buying Killie chairman Jamie Moffat's controlling interest in the club.

Smith insisted last night: 'I haven't been pulled up by anyone at Kilmarnock and I have not been banned.

'I was at that match,but it was someone behind me that was shouting something.I don't know who it was or what they said.

'I am certainly not a racist, quite the opposite actually. I have a number of Indian friends.'

Our reporter spoke again to Killie after talking to Smith, and they confirmed that he was banned for life.

But when we talked to the businessman again, he continued to insist: 'I am definitely not banned. I have lunch at the club hotel almost every day and I've since had meetings with the directors.

'I have also been back to watch a game.' Smith blamed a rival businessman for spreading rumours about him. But Mr McKinnon later stressed yet again that Smith 'won't be back at Rugby Park'.


UNCLE: A relative of Celtic's Henri Camara was at the match
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 7, 2004
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