JAMIE Lawrence admits he experienced racism from one of his own team-mates.

The City legend has never revealed the identity of the culprit or which club he was playing for at the time.

But it is personal experience of a stain on the game that he feels has always been there.

Lawrence is pleased to see black players now finding their voice. Led by England star Raheem Sterling, incidents of racist abuse are being brought into the public arena.

That was rarely the case when Lawrence was playing for the likes of City, Leicester and Sunderland.

Players were warned that speaking out would only make trouble.

“You were seen as a bad egg in the dressing room if you’d said anything," he recalled. "You’d get blacklisted as someone stirring it up – it was horrible.

“I experienced more of it later in my career. Obviously, we got it when we went to St Petersburg (in the Intertoto Cup) and places like that.

“I was in the stand and every time the boys got the ball there were monkey sounds.

“But at the time you didn’t want to come out and rock the boat.

“I’m not going to name names but there were people in our clubs. The gaffer had to step in and tell them they’d better apologise in front of everyone.

“I didn’t say anything because they were just too stupid to realise, although not many are going to do that with me because something would have really happened.”

Sterling’s eloquence against racism and the way that young black footballers are portrayed in some sections of the media has encouraged others to make a stance.

Charlton striker Lyle Taylor went public to condemn the racist Tweets he received from someone claiming to be a City fan. Police investigations into that continue.

Lawrence does not see a rise in racist incidents compared with during his own career. The difference is that they are being highlighted – which he views as an overdue step forward.

“People are saying that it’s creeping back into the game but it’s never gone away,” he added. “It was just more subtle before.

“But what’s happening now is that players are coming out and speaking.

“Before, you were getting clubs telling them not to make a big deal out of it. The players had to swallow it because they weren’t earning the money like Raheem Sterling and people like that.

“But now they’ve got a platform to speak about it. If the clubs try to stop them, they don’t care because they are going to get another team.”

Lawrence claims institutional racism remains rife within the domestic game. He points to the lack of black faces within the FA’s hierarchy – and believes it was an influence in Darren Moore’s recent exit from West Brom.

“It’s never going to change until you get more black people in boardrooms and positions of power.

“I said it about Darren Moore. How the hell has he been sacked when West Brom were fourth in the league?

“I got pelters on Facebook from some idiots accusing me of playing the race card. But anyone who knows me, knows that’s not my style.

“I called it how it was. Mooro should never have got sacked.

“You think of all the black players who have played at the top level in this country. How many are coaching or managing?

“Why aren’t they making the transition? Because they are not given a chance.

“I know so many black players who won’t do coaching badges because they don’t think they will get a fair crack of the whip. They see it as a waste of time.

“Mooro was never given any money to spend at West Brom. He’s gone in there and done a great job putting the club back together – and gets the boot when they’re fourth.”

Lawrence applauded the way Gareth Southgate spoke after the international in Montenegro when Sterling was targeted by some sections of the home crowd.

He said: “You could tell that Southgate cared and what he was saying was 100 per cent right.

“He was talking about going into battle for his players but also said, ‘I’m middle aged and white so I don’t know anything about racism’.

“But I took my hat off to him for the way he dealt with it. With people like him at the helm, it will change.

“Players highlighting all this is a good thing. It’s bringing it to the fore but the FA won’t do anything.

“They had the perfect platform after the Montenegro game to make a stand – and they never.

“Southgate was right that we have to put our own house in order before we start pointing fingers.

“The only way you can do that is highlight it every time.

“Certain things used to happen on the pitch but you can’t get away with them now because everything’s highlighted.

“Players are braver now and that’s the best way to fight it. They deserve maximum respect.”