Tag Archives: fashanu

Matt Jarvis shows support for gay footballers in Attitude magazine interview

Coming out could help a gay footballer play better, suggests Jarvis as West Ham winger aims to tackle homophobia

Declan Warrington


21:54 GMT, 3 January 2013



23:29 GMT, 3 January 2013

West Ham winger Matt Jarvis has insisted it is time a gay footballer felt comfortable enough to come out and believes that doing so could aid an individual's on-pitch performances.

Jarvis has followed the leads of David Beckham and Freddie Ljungberg to become only the third footballer to feature on the cover of the UK's bestselling gay magazine, Attitude, and is confident that homophobia would not be a significant problem.

'It's everyday life,' said Jarvis, who is married. 'It's not something that's going to be a shock.

Supportive: Jarvis believes gay footballers need no longer fear a backlash

Supportive: Jarvis believes gay footballers need no longer fear a backlash

'I'm sure there are many footballers who are gay, but when they decide to actually come out and say it, it is a different story. It's one that I'm sure they've thought about many times. But it's a hard thing for them to do.'

When asked if being out could improve a player's performance, Jarvis responded: 'I'd agree with that. Because you've always got something you're worried about at the back of your mind.

'If you can let that go and then just concentrate on your one goal, which is whichever sport you're doing to the best of your ability, I think that would help. Definitely.'

Record: Jarvis, at 10.75m, is West Ham's club record signing

Record: Jarvis, at 10.75m, is West Ham's club record signing

The first 1m black footballer Justin Fashanu famously came out in 1990
but became the victim of considerable abuse and killed himself eight
years later, and the only player to come out since is Anton Hysen of the
Swedish lower leagues.

Jarvis, however, believes a modern player would receive greater backing and acceptance if he decided to do the same.

'There'd be support everywhere within the football community, whether it be players, fans or within the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association],' Jarvis explained. 'There would definitely be groups of people who would be supportive and help them through it.'

Tragic: The loss of Justin Fashanu may have discouraged other gay footballers from coming out

Tragic: The loss of Justin Fashanu may have discouraged other gay footballers from coming out

Attitude's editor, Matthew Todd, however, believes football has a problem with homophobia and needs to tackle it in the same way it is racism.

'It's ridiculous that there are no openly gay players in professional football,' Todd said.

'There's rightly been a focus on ridding the beautiful game of racism, but there doesn't seem to be much effort to tackle homophobia.

Lion: Jarvis on international duty with England's senior side

Lion: Jarvis on international duty with England's senior side

'We know there are gay players – and fans who support the game religiously – so I hope this starts a discussion and is a small step in the right direction.'

John Fashanu: MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon should get along

Fashanu: I understand the emotions, but let's have some peace and love in the FA Cup



20:50 GMT, 1 December 2012

Wimbledon legend John Fashanu has
called for 'peace and love' to break out between bitter rivals MK Dons
and AFC Wimbledon at their FA Cup second-round tie.

Fashanu, a key member of Wimbledon's
FA Cup-winning side in 1988, has defended the existence of MK Dons, a
team dubbed Franchise FC by many Wimbledon fans who accuse them of
'stealing' their old club when, in an unprecedented move in English
football, they were relocated to Milton Keynes and renamed nine years

Existing fans formed AFC Wimbledon as
a non-League club in 2002 and, while some will boycott the tie
altogether, others will attend the game in contamination suits to
underline their continuing contempt for Milton Keynes, who incorporated
the original 'Dons' nickname into their official name.

Different times: Wimbledon players celebrate their incredible 1988 FA Cup win

Different times: Wimbledon players celebrate their incredible 1988 FA Cup win

AFC's directors will keep away from the MK boardroom, while MK manager Karl Robinson said his scouts have been asked not to attend AFC home games in the build-up to the match.

Yet against this highly charged backdrop, Fashanu has admitted he embraces both clubs and defended his long-time chairman Sam Hammam, who sold Wimbledon to Pete Winkelman, who then moved them 60 miles north.

'I have to tread very carefully because I love the Dons and I love AFC Wimbledon,' said Fashanu. 'If AFC can beat MK it will be hard to know whether to laugh or cry. It's going to be so emotional for anyone and everyone connected to the Crazy Gang.

Legend: John Fashanu in action for Wimbledon

Legend: John Fashanu in action for Wimbledon

'All I hope is that we get to see a brilliant game and that afterwards, no matter who has won or lost, that there might be some peace and love between both clubs.

'MK Dons have a right to be where they are. Hard as it might be for some to stomach, Sam Hammam did what was necessary. He couldn't go any further in Wimbledon, he had hit a brick wall. This was the man who spent millions of his own money to keep Wimbledon going. He bankrolled the club and paid everyone huge salaries given the crowds we used to get.

'Wimbledon were a family club with unity and love for each other. That never changed for me even when they became the MK Dons. I'd never tell the fans what they should do or whether they should boycott the game. Only the individual can make that call. It's understandable people feel this way but it's also a huge shame.'

Fashanu, 50, will watch the contest on television in Nigeria, where he now works in business.

'It is a juggernaut of a tie. They have so much in common and, despite all the problems, will forever be linked in history,' said Fashanu, who will open a 50million football academy in London next weekend. 'It's going to be explosive.'

AFC Wimbledon are currently managed by former player Neal Ardley and now play their football only one division behind League One MK Dons after five promotions in nine seasons.

Much maligned: Former Wimbledon chairman Sam Hammam

Much maligned: Former Wimbledon chairman Sam Hammam

Former Wimbledon director and lifelong fan Peter Miller, who grew up in a flat overlooking the club's original ground at Plough Lane, says those AFC supporters who attend will boycott any supplementary spending on food, drinks, merchandising or programmes.

'I will be there but many who have travelled the length and breadth of the country are boycotting the game,' said Miller. 'A few won't even watch it on television and even the directors are split.

'Such is the resentment against everything the MK Dons represents that our supporters have been asked not to put money into their coffers by buying programmes or using any of their food stalls.'

What's in a name: The MK Dons' stadium

What's in a name: The MK Dons' stadium

Pete Winkelman, the MK Dons chairman, has admitted that he is 'not proud' of the way football came to Milton Keynes, having done the original deal, built the new stadium and developed the surrounding land.

But he insisted the club would not relinquish their 'Dons' name.

'I do understand that on this special occasion, this historic occasion, this first meeting, that AFC Wimbledon officials would rather sit with their own supporters,' he said. 'If there is a replay, I will do the same.

'But I was disappointed to hear about the boycott, I hope that doesn't happen. Boycotting your team or leaving your team alone is perhaps the worst way of voicing your disapproval of what went on.

On the up: AFC Wimbledon celebrate promotion from the Blue Square Premier League

On the up: AFC Wimbledon celebrate promotion from the Blue Square Premier League

'I've been very clear about this. I'm a custodian of the club and the only way our name could ever change is if our supporters demanded it. I take responsibility for the club getting here, but now it's here it's actually the responsibility of all of us. And I think it's incredibly clear, and clear in every conversation I have, that we are the MK Dons, we're going to stay the MK Dons, and in the future we're going to be the MK Dons.'

Although there is a tradition for sports clubs to change location for business reasons in America, the story of the Dons remains unique in English football.

Former player Wally Downes, now assistant manager at West Ham, said: 'I am not looking forward to the game. It's AFC Wimbledon against Franchise FC. MK Dons are in a position they didn't earn, they didn't even inherit it, they just bought it. Of the two teams, one is a proper football club and one is a fraud club. I can see why AFC fans would boycott the game.'

David Cameron orders football anti-racism summit

Cameron orders summit to outline football's anti-racism battle

David Cameron will step into the row over racism in football by staging a Downing Street summit on the issue.

Some of the sport's biggest stars, governing bodies and anti-discrimination groups are to join the Prime Minister and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt for talks.

The Government is also injecting 3million into the FA's new National Coaching Centre, which aims to encourage more individuals from ethnic minorities to progress in the game.

Enough is enough: Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped in

Enough is enough: Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped in

The event to promote a more 'inclusive' sport comes amid fears that high-profile incidents are harming its image.

Earlier this month Liverpool forward Luis Suarez was forced to apologise for refusing to shake hands with Manchester United's Patrice Evra before the teams' match.

Suarez had only recently returned to action for Liverpool following a ban for racially abusing Evra during a game in October.

England star John Terry is also due to face trial over the summer on charges of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand. Those taking part in the discussions today include former players John Barnes and Graeme Le Saux.

Amal Fashanu, who recently made a
documentary about homosexuality in the sport, 14 years after her
footballer uncle Justin hanged himself, will attend.

Flashpoints: Evra and Suarez clashed at Anfield (above) while the Ferdinand and Terry case rumbles on (below)

Flashpoints: Evra and Suarez clashed at Anfield (above) while the Ferdinand and Terry case rumbles on (below)

Flashpoints: Evra and Suarez clashed at Anfield (above) while the Ferdinand and Terry case rumbles on (below)

Representatives from the Football Association, the Premier League, the Football League, the Professional Footballers' Association and the League Managers' Association are also due to be there.

At a charity reception last month, Mr Cameron said many people had been 'concerned by recent events'.

'My message is clear: we will not tolerate racism in Britain. It has absolutely no place in our society and where it exists, we will kick it out,' he said.

'Our football governing bodies, clubs and footballers themselves have a vital role to play as role models in this respect.'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has also spoken out about the need to encourage more people from ethnic minorities to become coaches.

Race row: Some City players allege they were abused in Porto

Race row: Some City players allege they were abused in Porto

PFA launch fresh campaign on homophobia awareness: EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE: All 92 Clubs sent homophobia awareness poster as PFA tackle taboo

Campaign: The PFA have sent a homophobia awareness poster to all 92 clubs

Campaign: The PFA have sent a homophobia awareness poster to all 92 clubs

The PFA will send a poster out to all 92 Premier League and Football League clubs to raise awareness of homophobia in the game.

The union has been working with leading figures in the game for the past few months to tackle the issue and will send out the poster to try to create a 'so what' culture around homosexuality in football and reassure a gay footballer that he will have support from his club, team-mates and the wider public if he does choose to come out.

The poster shows two shirts in a locker room – one with No 7 Gay and the other with No 11 Straight – written on it, with the words ‘When you are part of a team you are never on your own – we are all winners. Football is committed to tackling homophobia’.

The poster has the official backing of the FA, Premier League, Football League, League Managers’ Association and the Kick It Out campaign.

Following the poster, an educational DVD on the subject featuring prominent gay sportsmen and women – including Gareth Thomas, Martina Navratilova ans Swedish footballer Anton Hysen – will be distributed. All 92 clubs have also agreed to sign the government's charter for homophobia and transphobia within sport.

The PFA's head of equalities Simone Pound told Sportsmail: 'We are working hard to tackle homophobia and it is something everyone has a responsibility to address.

'We want the authorities, clubs and fans to create a 'so what' culture around being gay in football. As the players' union, we consider it a vital matter. There has been a step forward recently and football is taking homophobia seriously.'

Making a stand: No British footballer has 'come out' since Justin Fashanu in 1990

Making a stand: No British footballer has 'come out' since Justin Fashanu in 1990

The lack of gay footballers has been brought to the limelight by a BBC documentary being shown on Monday night. In Britain’s Gay Footballers, it will be claimed a gay official was unable to talk to the programme about his sexuality by his bosses at the PGMOL.

No player or official in Britain has come out since Justin Fashanu in 1990 although Hysen in Sweden and David Testo in America did last year. English cricketer Steve Davies and Welsh rugby player Thomas are also openly gay.

Chris Basiurski, chair of the Gay Footballers Support Network, is glad to see the initiative after what, he believes, was a lack of urgency by the Premier League and Football League to address homophobia in football.

‘The leagues have not done anywhere near enough on the issue. They haven’t shown any sign that they are willing to take the issue seriously.’

The BBC are still waiting for a complaint from the Premier League concerning Monday's documentary.

The Premier League say they only refused to let the official speak to the programme because it is a policy that officials never talk to the media.

EXCLUSIVE: Gay match official in BBC gagging row

EXCLUSIVE: Gay match official in BBC gagging row

Justin Fashanu

A gay match official has been prevented from talking on TV about his sexuality by his bosses, a BBC documentary will claim.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) refused to let the man speak to Britain's Gay Footballers, a programme being broadcast on BBC Three on Monday night.

It is hosted by Amal Fashanu, the niece of Justin Fashanu (right), the only openly gay footballer Britain has had and looks into why no player in Britain has come out since he did.

The official told producers he wanted to discuss his sexuality on the programme, but did not want to jeopardise his career.

And when he and the producers asked for permission from referees chiefs they were told the interview was not possible as the organisation did not allow officials to speak to the media.

Angry that they are being painted as gagging the official by the programme, PGMOL bosses have written to the producers to ask for the accusation to be removed from the footage and have threatened legal action.

BBC bosses were set to ignore the request.

Martin Keown"s FA Cup highlights: Fulham and Aston Villa"s strong message

Martin Keown's FA Cup highlights: Fulham and Villa's strong message


It was nice to see Premier League teams such as Aston Villa and Fulham playing strong sides. It sends a message to the players that they want to do the best they can in the competition and tells the opposition that they are not going to get an easy ride. Alex McLeish has been under a lot of pressure from the fans at Aston Villa so he knows that a good cup run can help him stay in his job. But why did Wolves boss Mick McCarthy not put his best team out at Birmingham and then take off a few players when the game was won All he has now is another fixture to play.

Marching on: Fulham beat Charlton 4-0

Marching on: Fulham beat Charlton 4-0

Martin Keown GRAPHIC.jpg

Arnaud Mendy's stunning goal for Macclesfield against Bolton could change his life. The FA Cup is a lot about individuals, people we’ve never heard of grabbing the limelight and maybe getting themselves moves to bigger clubs. Mendy’s goal reminded me of Justin Fashanu’s volley for Norwich against Liverpool in 1980 which won Goal of the Season. He meant it.


I want to mention the great job being done by Graham Westley. I’ve met him on coaching courses and what he has done at Stevenage is incredible – back-to-back promotions, they are in the play-off places in their first season in League One and they caused another FA Cup upset on Saturday. They knocked out Newcastle last season before losing at home to Reading but beat the Royals this time. He’s an astute, young manager. Considering what he has achieved, it’s stunning that he’s still with Stevenage. He’s the hot favourite to take the Preston job this week but he is talented enough for an even bigger post.

Golden Graham: Westley masterminded a shock

Golden Graham: Westley masterminded a shock


I spent time with Tamworth last week and they didn’t embarrass themselves at all. What surprised me when I watched Marcus Law’s team train was how technically good they are. Within reason, players are as technically good as you tell them they are – if you tell players they aren’t good enough, they react in that way. It’s like Swansea in the Premier League.


AS A player, Paolo di Canio always went his own way – he used to train on his own sometimes at West Ham because he preferred that. He was very much an individual but as Swindon manager he’s understanding what it’s like to be a part of a group and the collective benefit you get from that. Di Canio’s side are playing with a desire and a tempo and that is what got them the win over Wigan. He’s crazy in his reactions, as you saw at the final whistle on Saturday, but he is obviously able to control himself enough to get his message across to his players.