Why Do We Have To Go To Football’s 8th Tier To Find An Openly Gay Man?

This is the question broadcaster and football fanatic Adrian Chiles is asking.

Earlier this month the Professional Football Association last week called in anti-homophobia campaigner Amal Fashanu to support seven players, including two in the Premier League, who do not feel ready to come out publicly.

Amal is the niece of the Britain’s only top tier ‘out’ player Justin Fashnau. He took his life in 1998 and no other player has come out,

Luke, 33, came out as  a teenage player at Camberley Town in ­Surrey. He is completely at ease with his sexuality and the best news is that his boyfriend is no longer his boyfriend. Rhys Morgan is now his fiancé. We couldn’t be happier.

Congratulations

Adrian Chiles asks whether lockdown could be the perfect opportunity to give the gay players breathing space to come out. 

Luke Tuffs, 33, came out as  a teenage player at Camberley Town and now manages the Ashford Town. The Tangerines are in footballs eighth tier and he is the highest ranking gay man in British Football.

Adrian Chiles asked Luke about whether the game is ready to challenge the stigma around sexuality. His first question was whether playing to an empty stadium mean it will be easier to come out.

“If the horror of dealing with a baying mob is what’s holding you back, this may be your chance,” said Luke

“Needless to say, it’s a lot more complicated than that.”

“It might help,” he concedes, “but for me, it would make it harder.”

“I’d want to get straight into the bear pit and deal with what I had to deal with.

“I’d probably be worried about what it would be like when eventually there were crowds.”

How did Luke come out?

“One night I got drunk with the players, who had taken me on a club night out with them.”

“There were some women in the corner who seemed keen on me. One of the lads said, ‘Go for it’.

“To my sober self’s horror, drunk me decided to say I had a boyfriend, and show pictures of him to everyone to prove it. And everyone was absolutely cool about it.”

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW (External Site)

Justin Fasanu

Justin Fashanu killed himself in 1998 after becoming the first British professional player to reveal he was gay. Luke now believes the only way we will have an openly gay elite-level footballer is if he is already out and proud as a youth player.

He adds: “That will happen because that generation are getting cooler with it all the time.”

“I can take the stick, as long as it’s not malicious,” he says.

“My dressing rooms are probably as un-PC as any.

“It can be savage and I can take that because I don’t think it comes from malice — it comes from love.

“I know gay footballers who haven’t come out and they’ve said to me they just couldn’t deal with the banter like I do. And I get that. I’m lucky, I suppose. But I ­wonder how many decent gay players couldn’t take it and gave up the game.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *