Justin Fashanu, Britain’s first openly gay footballer, is set to be inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame — 22 years after he had committed suicide.
The Hall of Fame celebrates and highlights the achievements of top British footballing talents as well as non-English players and managers who have become significant figures in football history.
Justin, who was the son of a Nigerian barrister living in the UK and a brother of John Fashanu, died in 1998, while the police authorities were seeking his arrest over the case of a 17-year-old who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by the footballer after a night of drinking.
He had taken his own life, eight years after he came out to the world as gay in an interview with a national newspaper.
The former Norwich City and Nottingham Forest striker will be inducted at a ceremony billed to hold on Wednesday — a day that would have been his 59th birthday — at the museum in central Manchester.
Amal Fashanu, the late footballer’s niece, who runs the Justin Fashanu Foundation to raise awareness of discrimination in football, is expected to receive the award.
“I think he wouldn’t believe it himself. I know he would be extremely honoured, and I know that I am extremely honoured and so is my family,” Amal, who happens to be John’s daughter, told SkySports.
“I guess for Justin this would be a great moment and I think it’s a pivotal moment when we are finally recognising who Justin Fashanu was, not only as the openly gay footballer, but also as a very talented footballer and the first million-pound black player in England.
“When I went up to the Football Museum in Manchester a few years ago, I was quite shocked to not see Justin there [in the Hall of Fame]. Maybe that’s because I’m his niece and I just think he’s amazing, but as a footballer I would have expected him to be there.”
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