Late footballer, Justin Fashanu has been inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame.
Justin Fashanu was England’s first male professional footballer to come out back in 1990 and openly declare he was gay.
Justin played for a total of 22 clubs in England, North America, Scotland and New Zealand.
He was the first black footballer to receive a £1million transfer fee when he moved from Norwich to Nottingham Forest in 1981.
He was still playing as of the time he disclosed his sexual status. Ten years later, his body was found in a garage in East London on May 2, 1998.
He was believed to have committed suicide. If he was still alive, yesterday would have been his 59th birthday.
In any case, he was inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame today 20th of February, 2020.
‘The National Football Museum Hall of Fame aims to acknowledge individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the game.
The award was presented at the museum in Manchester during LGBT History Month
Tim Desmond, National Football Museum chief executive said, ‘We’re delighted to present this award to Amal Fashanu on behalf of Justin and the Justin Fashanu Foundation.’
Receiving the award on his behalf, his niece, Amal Fashanu had a lot to say about her uncle.
She started by noting that today would have been his 59th birthday.
‘Today would have been Uncle Justin’s 59th birthday and what a way to celebrate it on his behalf,’ said Amal.
Amal Fashanu, Justin’s niece campaigns against homophobia in the world of sport and she is a co-founder of The Justin Fashanu Foundation.
Amal said, ‘The Justin Fashanu Foundation would like to thank the National Football Museum and all stakeholders involved who came together to honour my Uncle Justin.’
‘One of my favourite memories of Uncle Justin was his playful, cheeky character. He was so fun to be around and he would have been the life and soul of this event,’ she said.
She also described her uncle as being talented, smart, well-loved and charming.
She said, ‘Justin Fashanu was talented, smart, well-loved and charming. It warms my heart to witness his legacy being honoured more than 21 years after his untimely passing.“
Moreover, she expressed her dismay regarding the discrimination still being faced in the world of football in this decade.
‘It’s unfortunate that we are still discussing discrimination in football in 2020 and it’s because of this harsh reality that we decided to create a platform in his name to tackle homophobia, racism and mental health within the game,’ Amal said.