Aston Villa legend Milosevic urges Partizan Belgrade fans not to shame club when Man Utd visit.

SAVO MILOSEVIC has urged Partizan Belgrade fans: Don’t shame our club with racism when Manchester United come to town.

Partizan had to play their last two Europa League games behind closed doors as punishment for the latest incident of bigoted behaviour by some of their supporters.

 Partizan Belgrade boss Savo Milosevic says he understands the worries of Man Utd and bigoted behaviour from his team's fans

Partizan Belgrade boss Savo Milosevic says he understands the worries of Man Utd and bigoted behaviour from his team's fansCredit: PAVEL MIKHEYEV

 Police officers stand in front of Red Star soccer fans in the heated derby with Partizan

Police officers stand in front of Red Star soccer fans in the heated derby with Partizan

The boss of the Serbian cup holders understands why United — and football in general — would be worried about Thursday’s game.

Ex-Aston Villa star Milosevic said: “Sure, and I, as a former player with friends throughout the world, will do everything to make sure our guests will feel comfortable and to think only of a game of football.

“I will say to our fans: ‘A big club, a giant club, is coming to visit us — and we should be honoured to play against Manchester United for the first time since 1966’.

“We have to be proud to host the players, coaches, leaders and fans of such a great club.”

Partizan have a long rap-sheet for racism and other discrimination, including the display of an anti-Semitic banner during a Europa League game against Tottenham in 2014.


Uefa lost patience with the club in August after some fans abused Mitchell Donald, who was playing for Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor in the second qualifying round and had previously represented Partizan’s arch rivals Red Star Belgrade.

After the sickening incidents during England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria, the visit of United to the Serbian capital looks like a high-risk fixture. Milosevic was appalled by what happened in Sofia.

He added: “This is, in my opinion, done by people who are not educated, people from lower parts of society.

“They are nobody and nothing — and thus want to draw attention to themselves because they have nothing else to show, except anger and primitivism.

“Perhaps we should not give them so much attention because they enjoy it, they enjoy their own stupidity and primitivism.

“I am frustrated when I hear and read about all forms of discrimination, including of course racial.

“For me and for all normal people, it’s hard to understand and impossible to accept such behaviour and phenomena.

“Especially in sports, which are supposed to be a bridge between different nations, skin colours, religions, gender.

“Football — and sport in general — enriches people, makes them better, because of the friendships you made, getting to know other cultures, other nations.”

Milosevic, 46, did just that in his playing days. After making his name at Partizan, he moved to Villa in 1995 for a then club-record fee of £3.5million.

During a career that also took him to Spain, Italy and Russia, he won more than 100 international caps for what is now the Serbian national team.

Despite the bloody conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Milosevic insists he was not abused for his Serbian roots.

 Savo Milosevic was with Villa from 1995-1998, also netting 37 goals in 102 games for Serbia

Savo Milosevic was with Villa from 1995-1998, also netting 37 goals in 102 games for Serbia

He said: “Never, as I can remember. When I played at Aston Villa, during the conflict in my country my people had a bad reputation in England and Western Europe.

“However, I have never felt people treated me differently, although they had been able to gain an absolutely negative image of Serbs, as a nation.

“If I, as a Serb, have been shown maximum respect in England, Spain and Italy, then reciprocating that respect is really the least my people and I can do when Manchester United and any other football rival comes to visit us.”

But a number of the clubs recently punished by Uefa for fans’ racist behaviour come from the Balkans or the wider region of Eastern Europe.

Milosevic said: “People are frustrated with everything that happened in the recent past — wars, conflicts, life problems.

"For many, stadiums are places where they can show frustrations with life, even though they do not even know and understand what problems such behaviour can cause.

“As a society, we have to go forward, not for others — but for ourselves.”

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