The former Arsenal striker received a letter of apology that made him ‘well up’ from an unknown Reds fan who dished out slurs at Oakwell 25 years ago.
Ian, who is now a pundit, said: “I received major racial abuse at Barnsley and it was horrible.
“People who have been racially abused know the humiliation and all the stuff that comes with it.”
The ex-England international spoke of the note on his podcast - Wrighty’s House - after it was passed to him by a colleague.
“I support Barnsley FC and I am one of the people who racially abused him during a football match in 1995,” the note read.
“I was young and stupid but those are no defences.
“Poor guy said it was understandably one of the worst nights of his life and I would like him to know that I am completely ashamed of my contribution towards it and I find myself thinking about it a lot.
“I apologise for what I did.”
Ian admitted he holds no grudges against the fan, stating that one of the ways to tackle the problem of racism is through ‘honesty’ and ‘maturity’.
“What you have done is one of the ways we tackle racism,” he added.
“Not through revenge or violence but with honesty and maturity.
“I am grateful to you for the time you took sending this email to me and I hold no grudges towards you.
“We all have a duty to make the world a fairer and better place.”