We are giving Oxford United fans the chance to share their views on the club every Thursday this season. This week, South Stand Upper season-ticket holder Martin Barrow-Starkey raises an important question.

LAST Saturday, Ron Atkinson and his family came onto the Kassam Stadium pitch at half-time to mark the opening of the new Atkinson Suite in the South Stand.

The Atkinson brothers’ place in Oxford United’s history is indisputable – Ron holds the record number of appearances, making 562 between 1959 and 1971, while brother Graham Atkinson is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 107 in 398 matches.

Ron went on to be a successful manager of many clubs – Cambridge United, West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid to name a few across three decades – a remarkable amount of time to be in the cutthroat world of football management.

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However, he is also well remembered for his comments made while working as a pundit in 2004.

Atkinson resigned from ITV after he broadcast a racist remark live on air about the Chelsea player Marcel Desailly; believing the microphone to be switched off, he uttered a comment that is as derogatory as it gets.

Although transmission in the UK had finished, his remark was broadcast to various countries in the Middle East.

It must be acknowledged that Atkinson publicly apologised for the slur and wrote to Desailly personally.

But my question is – why have we named a suite after him?

United have had multiple campaigns and announcements about discrimination in football including ‘Show Racism the Red Card – not today or any day’.

I am not suggesting that we ‘cancel’ or ‘punish’ Ron Atkinson forever more.

He and his brother were great servants to the club, so having him as a guest and doing Q&A’s is all ok (in my view), but there is a stretch between this and actively celebrating someone by naming a suite after them.

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For me, it weakens United’s stance on ‘zero tolerance’ against discrimination – only last season, after the Wycombe Wanderers away game in January, a statement was issued saying the club ‘would like to state as clearly as possible that discrimination of any kind is not acceptable at matches, home or away, or on social media’.

So, if a fan demonstrates this behaviour, it is pretty clear how they would be dealt with, but that is not the case with Ron Atkinson – in fact the opposite has occurred.

Some of you may say ‘this is years ago, move on’, but his remarks were in 2004, at a point when the 'n' word and racist behaviour were socially unacceptable.

To give perspective on this, the organisation ‘Kick it out’ was formed in 1993, some 11 years earlier.

I wonder what discussions were had within the club and whether anyone raised the points I am making?

It’s left me feeling that the club are not really taking the ‘zero tolerance’ approach that they fanfare at various times.

We still have some way to go to achieve an equal society.