The 58-year-old, who denied the allegations, left his role as the Magpies’ Under-23s coach earlier this year after an internal investigation and has been banned from the game by the Football Association for 32 weeks until April 2020.
This prompted Downing Street to issue a warning to football authorities to step up efforts to tackle racism.
Earlier this month, Italian football league Serie A came under fire for – astonishingly – using three paintings of monkeys to illustrate a campaign to stamp out racism that has been branded as a “sick joke”.
A video circulated that appeared to show a supporter making a monkey gesture at a player during a match between Manchester City and Manchester United.
The scourge showed no sign of letting up as the year drew to a close. Two Doncaster men were arrested on Boxing Day after racist chanting was reported in the away stand at Peterborough’s Weston Homes Stadium. It happened as the city’s United side played Doncaster Rovers.
Will 2020 be any better? We can hope – but we’re not holding our breath.