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Tragic former Norwich City star Justin Fashanu remembered by campaigners trying to kick homophobia out of football with football tournament on what would have been his 51st birthday

PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 February 2012

Football V Homophobia tournament organiser Nick O'Brien holds aloft the trophy the teams played for at Carrow Park.
Photo by Simon Finlay

Football V Homophobia tournament organiser Nick O'Brien holds aloft the trophy the teams played for at Carrow Park. Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk Copyright

Tragic former Norwich City football star Justin Fashanu was remembered yesterday on what would have been his 51st birthday as part of an international day of action opposing homophobia in football.

Justin, who scored 40 goals for the Canaries - including his famous strike against Liverpool in 1980 - in 103 appearances for the club between 1979 and 1981 was the first ever professional footballer to disclose he was gay.

He had to contend with homophobia, prejudice and discrimination throughout his career and died in 1998 taking his own life in a garage in Shoreditch, London.

But this tragedy has inspired a movement to kick homophobia out of football - the Justin Campaign - which has been set up to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions that exist around gay men in soccer.

Yesterday, members of the campaign, which is supported by his niece and footballing brother John Fashanu’s daughter Amal, were at Carrow Park, near Carrow Road for a Football v Homophobia five-a-side tournament.

Jason Hall, founder of the Justin Campaign, said: “The response to Football v Homophobia this year has been fantastic. It is all about giving the community the opportunity to take their own individual stance and spread the word in the fight against homophobia in football.”

Set up by the Justin Campaign in 2010, the annual week of action, which takes place between February 18 and 26, is the FA’s endorsed campaign to tackle homophobia and prejudice against lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in football.

This year, a number of Premier League clubs, along with Football League clubs, including East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town, will be taking part.

Do you have a story? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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