West Ham striker Carlton Cole has responded to allegations of racist abuse at Upton Park by telling Millwall fans: “I might be as strong as a gorilla but I'm not a monkey.”
Visiting supporters were heard aiming monkey chants at the 25-year-old England striker, who appeared to gesture back at them when substituted towards the end of a night where there were scenes of violence in and around the ground.
Referee Paul Taylor may not have noticed the abuse amid the chaos to put in his report to the Football Association — but Cole did not miss it.
“I heard it but it's football,” he said. “I don't care. I know I'm not a monkey. I might be as strong as a gorilla but I'm not a monkey.
“You've just got to carry on and get on with it and we got the result. That was the main point, the fans got what they deserved.”
Cole, who wants to use Frank Lampard’s example of shrugging off abuse, admitted he was shocked at the general scenes of carnage during the game.
“I've never been involved in such a turbulent game like that,” Cole added.
“Passions were running high and it was a unique experience.
“I might not experience something like that in my career, so it was new to me to be a part of something like that.”