Introducing Pride 2022 


Each year, June is often referred to as Pride month. It’s a month dedicated to celebrating all things LGBT+ around the world.


Pride is usually celebrated with large parades and marches. Most of the events over the last two years have been cancelled, it’s therefore expected that things will be bigger and brighter this year. However, 2022 is special for another reason - Pride will be 50 years old. 


In support of 2022 Pride, we’re publishing 4 articles across the month on our website: 

  • What is Pride?
  • Pride in Football
  • Pride at Hanwell
  • A Pride Takeaway. 


If nothing else, it should help explain why you’ll spot a rainbow flag or two over the coming weeks! 

Happy Pride 2022 🏳️‍🌈


2. Pride In Football

It’s often speculated why there are currently no openly gay professional players? How many are there?

Will any come out? What will the reaction be?


Several reasons may stop a gay footballer coming out:

  • Fear of physical, verbal and online abuse. A glance across social media reveals a multitude of ugly comments in response to any mention of equality for LGBT+ people in the game.
  • Career concerns if there’s a reaction from their club and/or teammates, both immediate and in the future. 
  • Potential financial implications such as the withdrawal of a sponsor, especially for those at the highest level. 

There’s been a lot of press coverage on such developments over recent months but is men’s football really ready for a top-flight gay footballer?

Setting the ball rolling…


Justin Fashanu was considered a groundbreaker. In 1981 he became the country's most expensive black player with a £1m move to Nottingham Forest. He’d grown up in foster care in Norfolk, alongside his footballer brother John, and had risen through Norwich City's youth ranks. Early in his career, he made it known privately that he was gay to the clubs he played for. He came out publicly later in his career becoming the first English professional footballer to be openly gay.


Fashanu agreed to an exclusive with The Sun newspaper as his method of coming out. They ran the headline as "£1m Football Star: I AM GAY" on 22 October 1990. In the article, he claimed to have had an affair with a married MP whom he first met in a London gay bar. A few weeks later, his brother John Fashanu agreed to an exclusive with The Voice, a British national African-Caribbean weekly newspaper, under the headline "John Fashanu: My Gay Brother is an Outcast".

Fashanu was interviewed for the cover of Gay Times in July 1991 where the situation was summarised as:

The Sun dragged out the tale with titillating stories of sexual encounters with unnamed MPs, football players and pop stars, which, he claims, were largely untrue. The revelations, nevertheless, earned him a considerable sum of money but he says he was offered even more by others who wanted him to stay in the closet.

He admits that he wasn't fully prepared for the backlash that followed and his career in football ... has suffered "heavy damage". Although he's fully fit, no club has offered him a full-time contract since the story first appeared.


In 1992 he agreed to front Loud’n’Proud, a new national radio series aimed at LGBT+ youth. However, the pilot with Fashanu presenting was turned down by BBC Radio 5. It was later commissioned with a female presenter for BBC Radio 1.


Fashanu had varying levels of success as a player afterwards until he retired in 1997. Unfortunately he committed suicide in 1998 following an allegation of sexual misconduct in the USA which he always denied.

Recent developments…


For three decades Fashanu remained the only male footballer to reveal his sexuality while playing professionally in the top tiers.The following article from July 2020 details the concerns of an unnamed Premier League footballer. He revealed that he’s gay in an open letter but that he isn't prepared to come out publicly.


On a more positive note, in the last two years there have been a small number of players and officials deciding to come out as can be seen in the articles and video below. 

Matt Morton, Thetford Town (2020)


Josh Cavallo, Adelaide United (2021)


Jake Daniels, Blackpool (May 2022)


Scottish Referees (June 2022)


The recent announcement from 17 year old Jake Daniels has been described in the media as a “game changer” or a “turning point”. Whether this is true or not has yet to be seen however, recent events do give hope that things may finally be starting to change. 

Russell Simpson

24 June 2022