Orient’s Lawrence Vigouroux: Edouard Mendy paving way for black goalkeepers

Lawrence Vigouroux and Edouard Mendy

Leyton Orient goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux believes Edouard Mendy is changing the perception of black goalkeepers with his impressive displays for Chelsea.

Mendy quickly established himself as the Blues’ number one after arriving from Rennes in September 2020, and helped the west London club win the Champions League last term.

Vigouroux, who spoke out earlier this month after receiving racist abuse online following Orient’s game against Port Vale, wants to challenge the image of black players in his position – and believes Mendy has made a big difference.

“It’s not common that you see a black goalkeeper,” he said on his club’s YouTube channel.

“I think a lot of the perception was that, ‘He’s got a mistake in him’ and I’ve had to battle through that my whole career. And not just me – there’s loads of other black goalies that have had to deal with it.

“It’s something that I think is changing. I look at Mendy at Chelsea – I had never heard of him when he signed for Chelsea – and he’s done amazing, and he has paved the way for a lot of black goalkeepers.

“We can look up to him as a reference for what he’s done in the recent past especially and I feel like that perception is starting to change a little bit.

“I’m looking at our league and I think there are seven or eight that are starting week in, week out, so I feel like that perception is changing, but there’s a long way to go.”

The teenage fan who sent the abusive message to Vigouroux has received a lifetime ban from Port Vale and the matter is the subject of an ongoing police investigation.

Vigouroux, who was a trainee at Liverpool, shared screenshots of the abuse on his Twitter account following his side’s 3-2 League Two loss at Vale Park on October 2.

“I just thought it would be in everybody’s best interest to put them (the abusive messages) out there,” the 27-year-old said.

“There have been some times in my career when I’ve received messages and either replied or they’ve been deleted quickly so I couldn’t put them out there.

“This time I had the opportunity and I thought it was the right thing to put it out there and thankfully it got the right reaction, not just from Leyton Orient fans but from fans of every club in the country.

“I got a lot of support and I just want to thank everyone that sent me a message and put it out there that your support didn’t go unnoticed and I appreciate every message that I received.”

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