AN academic from Bradford has been speaking to national media outlets this month about the worrying rise in racism and prejudice in football, on and off the pitch.

But the Telegraph & Argus was the paper Daniel Kilvington read growing up in Eldwick, and where he even undertook some work experience over a decade ago.

So he was more than happy to share his thoughts with us too.

Sadly, yet another club were forced to condemn racist abuse on social media towards one of their players this week, with Swansea’s British Asian star Yan Dhanda targeted after his side’s FA Cup defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday evening.

Dhanda is the latest in a long list of players who have been abused by keyboard warriors in the last 12 months, which includes Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe and Lauren James, Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers.

A despondent Kilvington, a senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University in media and cultural studies, said: "I’ve been covering this topic for 10 years or so and wrote books on it calling for more action, as there have been various cases in the past.

"The racist abuse of Fabrice Muamba (after the former Bolton midfielder suffered an on-pitch cardiac arrest in 2012) was a big story at the time, but it soon disappeared.

"Then you get the next case, which is huge news for a while, before that just disappears too.

"Every week at the moment, it seems that a current or former player is getting racist abuse online, not to mention the sexism aimed at female pundits as well.

"It’s getting worse and it’s worrying."

Racism was rife in the stands at many football grounds during the 1970s and 80s, though that has thankfully been largely eradicated.

Asked whether online abuse is the toxic modern-day replacement for that, Kilvington mused: "The physical bananas thrown at black players in the 70s and 80s are now being virtually thrown at them in the form of emojis.

"Those racists chants and comments that were present in the stands back then find themselves on social media platforms nowadays.

"A lot of people felt these attitudes had been consigned to history but social media allows us to see they've not gone away at all."

Discrimination in sport and how that is displayed on social media compared to the offline world was the main focus of Kilvington's TEDx talk last February at Leeds Beckett.

He said: "I do largely focus on racism but I wrote a book in 2017 called Sport and Discrimination, which looks at sexism, homophobia and ableism too.

"My Ted talk looked at the need to understand why we see hate speech in general, and the communicative differences between offline and online.

"There's that anonymity and invisibility online and for some commenters, they just see it as a game. People respond quickly on social media, without thinking about what they're saying, and ultimately there are weak penalties too.

"If you say something sexist or racist in a stadium, you're likely to be removed, whereas online you tend to get away with it."

Another issue that Kilvington highlighted last week involved three Chelsea midfielders.

In a TV studio after their 1-0 win at Tottenham, pundit Tim Sherwood praised Blues stars Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic for their on-field intelligence, and compared that to the athleticism of their colleague N'Golo Kante.

The latter is black, while the other two are white.

Addressing this, Kilvington said: "There's been decades of studies looking at sports commentary and media representation of black athletes, and it's the same findings every time.

"Black players get credited for their athletic prowess and natural ability, while white players are seen as leaders, who are intelligent and disciplined.

"Those perceived latter qualities are often how managers are chosen, so it's no surprise that there's a lack of black and ethnic ones at a high level.

"The Kante clip personifies this major problem of unconscious bias and these are unhelpful stereotypes that have got to change."

Kilvington has welcomed the Premier League's No Room For Racism Action Plan, which was launched earlier this week, as it introduces quotas and education programmes at boardroom, playing and community level.

He explained: "Gestures like taking the knee and wearing Black Lives Matter logos on shirts are important in taking a stand against oppression, so I support them 100 per cent.

"Some would say it's tokenism though, and we do have to follow up these gestures with institutionalised action.

"Things like the Rooney Rule (where EFL clubs must interview at least one black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidate for a managerial vacancy) are a positive step in the right direction.

"Even then, any processes and quotas in place have to be backed up, so that clubs face sanctions if they don't take them seriously.

"It's the same for social media giants too, if they start getting huge fines, like happens in France, Germany and Australia now, for allowing hate speech to stay on their platforms for a period of time, we'll start to see them take more action.

"The Government have got a white paper out, so those fines should hopefully be imminent in the UK.

"Individuals within these social media organisations need to assist with traceability and have better links to stakeholders within clubs and law enforcement officials, so they can act quickly to clamp down on those posting abuse.

"Social media organisations tend to be rather elusive around hate speech and racism in football, and unfortunately there are few clubs that have a very good relationship with these organisations.

"It means for the majority, when one of their players gets racially abused, they can't chase that person down."

The 33-year-old has come a long way since his brief stint at the T&A in 2009, though his passionate work on the issue of racism in football could be seen even back then.

The Cullingworth resident said: "I did actually do work experience at the T&A, and I'm a qualified journalist with all my NCTJ exams and shorthand.

"I was looking for a job, and the T&A was close to home and the paper I grew up reading.

"I remember writing an article about asylum seekers but there was also one I did about overt racism in football.

"That was all about what it was like in the stands, so it just shows how things have evolved, because it wasn't really a thing on Facebook or Twitter back then."