Thursday, April 8, 2010

Who's That Queer [Justin Fashanu]

Brought to you by Pistol Pete

Justin Fashanu was a professional English footballer in the late 70's and early 80's.

He began his career as an apprentice with Norwich City, turning professional towards the end of December 1978. He made his league debut in January 1979 and settled into the Norwich side scoring regularly and occasionally spectacularly. In 1980, he won the BBC Goal of the Season award, for a very spectacular goal against Liverpool. He subsequently became Britain's first £1m black footballer when he transferred to Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest in August 1981.

His career stalled as his professional relationship with Brian Clough deteriorated; Clough, it would appear, was disturbed by the rumours of Justin Fashanu's visits to gay nightclubs and bars. His goals and then confidence dried up as he failed to fit in with the playing and lifestyle demands of Clough, especially after Clough had discovered his homosexuality and barred him from even training with the side.

In 1990, he publicly came out as gay in an interview with the tabloid press, becoming the only prominent player in English football so far to do so. Many former colleagues spoke out in anger against him, stating that homosexuals had no place in a team sport, and his brother John publicly disowned him. Although he claimed that he was generally well accepted by his fellow players, he freely admitted that they would often joke maliciously about his sexual orientation, and he also became the target of constant crowd abuse because of it.

He admitted in an interview with Gay Times that he wasn't fully prepared for the backlash that followed his coming out and that his career in football suffered 'heavy damage'.

Read the rest at Gay for Today.

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