Justin Fashanu inaugurated into the Football Hall of Fame

Today, on what would have been his 59th birthday, we joined with members of the wider footballing community at the National Football Museum to celebrate Justin Fashanu’s inauguration into the Football Hall of Fame. 

During his career Justin very publicly came out as a gay man and to this day remains the only male player to have done so in English football before retirement. He was also the first black player to be valued at over £1million and will always be remembered for his wonder goal of the season against Liverpool whilst playing for Norwich City in the 79/80 campaign. 

Fashanu’s Goal of the Season 79/80. Video; NCFC/YouTube

Tragically Justin’s life was cut short when he took his own life but today we remember his contribution to the English game and recognise him as an inspiration to LGBT+ participants in football and the wider sporting world. 

Rob Sanderson (Proud Canaries member & Pride in Football officer) said “it’s important to all of us within the LGBT+ movement in football to see Justin quite rightly recognised for his contribution to the game.

“Justin was more than just the first out gay male footballer but it is right that we remember he came out at a time that it was unheard of within football. As a result he suffered from homophobic abuse both on and off of the pitch, the lasting legacy of which is that we have yet to see another male footballer come out whilst still playing in the English game. 

“We work with strategic partners such as the FA, EPL & EFL as well as with clubs across the U.K. to make football a safe and welcoming space for LGBT+ fans and to eradicate both LGBT+phobia and all other forms of discrimination from the game that we all love.”

Rainbow Laces 2019

Today, 27th November 2019, is Rainbow Laces Day 2019. It comes during the annual campaign led by our fellow campaigners at Stonewall aimed at increasing LGBT+ visibility within the beautiful game and is supported by both the Premier League & the Football League. 

LGBT+ visibility within football here in the U.K. has never been higher, with over 40 dedicated supporter groups at club level and Three Lions Pride acting as pioneers on the international stage. Yet LGBT+ fans still face abuse in the stands and on social media, particularly at this time of year. With that in mind, when fans came together for #CallitOut19 we took a lighthearted look at some of the most common things we hear with a little help from our friends at Pride of Irons and West Ham United. 

LGBT+ football fans read ‘Mean Tweets’ at #CallitOut19

If you’d like to get involved in this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign then check out these resources from the FA, contact your club’s LGBT+ supporter group (have a look here to see if your club has a group) or reach out to us by email and check out our toolbox if your club doesn’t yet have an LGBT+ group. 

#CallitOut19

Last month fans from clubs and nations across Europe gathered at the London Stadium, home of West Ham United and Pride of Irons for Pride in Football’s third annual symposium, Call It Out.

Around 100 fans, representing clubs the length of the U.K. and nations including Ireland and Belgium came together to collaborate around the issues we face as LGBT+ football fans, as well as to challenge negative attitudes and raise awareness of equality and inclusion within the game we all love. The keynote event of the weekend was a panel session where attendees were joined by West Ham United’s Alisha Lehmann, Olympic boxing medalist and ally Anthony Ogogo, out gay wrestler Brad Slayer, actor Charlie Condou & Guardian journalist Nicky Bandini.

Pride of Irons co-chair Jim Dolan said: “Our relationship has been recognised as one of the best between an LGBT+ fan group and a club in football, which is why Pride in Football (PiF) asked West Ham to host Call it Out 19.

“The high-profile support given to various LGBT+ campaigns like Rainbow Laces and the Pride Parade by the club; the support of both senior staff and the players, and the appointment of out-gay staff to senior positions shows the club is driving awareness across football and beyond.”

Di Cunningham, out-going Chair of Pride in Football and organiser of Proud Canaries said; “I’m a bit overwhelmed! One hundred people signed up for this; that’s LGBT fans, plus other stakeholders in football who are interested in LGBT inclusion.

“That is 100 people putting their heads together to solve some of the problems we still have. It isn’t all about celebrating how far we’ve come, we’ve still got to look at where we’ve got to go to. Events like today make me feel really, really good and hugely positive for the future.”

Steph Fuller, incoming PiF Chair and founder of Proud and Palace, said: “In a world of negative headlines it could be easy to believe that all is lost. However if you attended call it out 2019 you cannot fail to have been caught up in this movement of positivity – real football fans representing clubs from across the UK and Europe, coming together to freely share knowledge and experience, with single aim of making football a truly inclusive place for LGBTQ people. 

“Pride in Football now has a membership of fifty supporters groups across the English & Scottish leagues, and we look forward to the continued growth of our membership and welcoming more groups from clubs that are unrepresented.”

You can get more information about setting up your own supporters group by viewing our toolbox or by emailing info@prideinfootball.co.uk and you can view more images from the #CallitOut19 drinks reception here.