Being a black footballer in the 1980s amid the era of Margaret Thatcher's rule was very difficult. Having to travel north and play was very difficult because of the abuse you got.
The football at the time was British and very physical. It was all about being very fit.
Training was all about cross-country running and pumping weights; things that are probably viewed as wrong now.
Football was all about blood, sweat and tears. If you went down injured back then and rolled around on the ground, your manager would slaughter you.
If you went down with a broken leg, the coaching staff would go easy on you. But if you went down with cramp your were seen as a wimp. Football back then was a proper man's game.
Personally, I don't see why football shouldn't pay respect to Thatcher. She should be given a minute's silence at football grounds because without Margaret Thatcher my mum and dad would have never been able to buy a house.
My parents have now been in that house 44 years. There are a lot of other good things she did, while she did many not-so-good things in people's eyes.
At the end of the day, she was the Primer Minister of Great Britain so there should be a minute's silence as far as I'm concerned.
You don't really want to go too deep into religion or politics because some people get very upset about her. But she allowed six of us to move into a two-bedroom house and reinvest in it. Before, it was just a case of paying out rent.
During Thatcher's era, English clubs were banned from Europe due to hooliganism. During my first season in the top flight, I played for QPR and we 'qualified' for Europe. But we weren't allowed to play in it.
I never got the opportunity to play in European club football until I joined Manchester United. I represented my country without playing any European club football.
A lot of players missed out at that time, but it didn't have too much effect as we were still reasonably strong as club sides.
England had their second best side in history reaching the semi-finals of Italia 1990 and that was on the back of having no clubs in Europe.
It wasn't that bad from a football perspective, but Thatcher didn't want the hooligans travelling abroad attaching themselves to football so she supported the ban.
She made a point of saying you won't go abroad to ruin the good name of Great Britain. It is as simple as that.
I think she is somebody who is there to have a go at in modern society. She is someone to blame. It is very easy to blame folk. People have grown up hating her. And they still hate her now.
But I certainly don't hate her. I have to respect her even though it was tough as a black man playing during her time as PM.
My worst time suffering racism was in the 1980s when I playing for Fulham in Yorkshire. That was the worst county in the world for it. And particularly playing in front of Leeds United fans.
I remember fouling Eddie Gray during a match at Leeds and the whole ground began singing to me..."there is no black in the Union Jack" or sentiment to that effect.
Burnley were just as bad. They had a bloke called Winston White who was black yet I was singled out for racist abuse and the same with Terry Connor, who was Leeds born and bred, but a black man. And I received terrible abuse.
That was what football was like when you stepped outside of London. It was hard work when you went past the Watford Gap. It was very, very difficult.
A lot of the racism that has reared its head this season is all down to the FA not having the balls to deal with John Terry. That has enabled people to jump on the bandwagon and offer ill-formed views and opinions.
You had to be mentally strong back then. You couldn't get emotional about it. You did feel water building in your eyes when you stepped out to play , but you had to give yourself a slap in the face and think hold on a minute: "These people have paid money to abuse me!"
Why not go to a shopping centre or on a roadside and racially abuse a black person? They wouldn't do that, but they were safe to do it in a crowd.
Racism is hidden in the Premier League today, but you can't get away from it in the non-league grounds. It is only going to change through the generations. It has improved, but has not yet gone from Thatcher's era in government.
CITY MUST DISMISS MANCINI TO PROGRESS
I think Manchester City were the better side against Manchester United last night. They went out there to prove a point with the manager again making a lot of noise about their performance.
At the end of the day, they won the battle but can't win the war because they never did the hard yards up to that point.
The Premier League is a marathon not a sprint. There is a reason why United have won the league. When it has mattered, they have gone and closed matches off.
They have been doing it for years under Sir Alex Ferguson. They have a manager and group of players who have been 100 percent with each other. But you can't say that about City.
They have been mentally and verbally ripped apart by their manager, who doesn't help the situation.
People ask me how City can improve? My answer is get rid of the manager. City could go and become better and better without Roberto Mancini.
Unlike Sir Alex, he doesn't have the experience and is not a people's man. He is one of these managers who believes he is better than everybody.
He was a good player, but believes all his players should be able to do what he could do. He wants to berate them publicly and leave them on the bench making them look silly.
Players nowadays don't like that. Sir Alex doesn't praise players all the time, but he handles the squad a lot better and especially the egos.
You don't get players at United saying I'm leaving if I don't get a contract. That just doesn't happen at United.
With Mancini, if you have a poor game you get chopped. But Sir Alex will give you a chance.
What has happened to Joleon Lescott at City? They won the league with Vincent Kompany and Lescott, who were a great pairing. But that has been broken up this season.
It is all these little things that affect the squad. Just the little things going on in the background. You don't hear or see such things at United.
That is why they will have earned their title.