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Author has had 'amazing' response to book about former Norwich City star Justin Fashanu

PUBLISHED: 12:28 02 August 2011

Justin Fashanu

Justin Fashanu

A former broadcast journalist and writer who is working on a book about former Norwich City star Justin Fashanu has revealed he has had an "amazing response" to a call for information about the game's first million pound black player.

Justin, who scored 40 goals for City – including his famous strike against Liverpool in 1980 – in 103 appearances between 1979 and 1981 was the first ever professional footballer to disclose he was gay and had to contend with homophobia, prejudice and discrimination throughout his career.

Justin, who had his hall of fame banner unveiled at Carrow Road in February just days before what would have been his 50th birthday, died in 1998 after taking his own life in a garage in Shoreditch, London.

It was a tragic end to a short life which is to be celebrated by Nick Baker, a former broadcast journalist and writer who now works on factual TV shows in Canada, wants who wants to write a book about the former footballer.

Through his book Mr Baker will be highlighting how, since his death, Justin’s bravery has been heralded by campaigners who set up the Justin Campaign to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions that exist around gay men in soccer.

But as well as telling the story of Justin the gay icon and Justin the footballer, it will also try and give an insight into Justin the man from those who actually knew him.

Mr Baker last month issued a call for information about Justin and has been inundated by emails and messages. He said: “Since your article I have had an amazing response from people who knew Justin from back in the day - both on and off the field.

“I want this to be a comprehensive look at Justin’s life and you have certainly helped a great deal.”

Mr Baker said the book, which will be released next year and published by Scratching Shed Publishing, is long overdue and will help answer questions about the man and not just the footballer.

He said: “Today, the legacy of Justin Fashanu lives on and has inspired the birth of organisations like The Justin Campaign which tackles homophobia in sport. But when it’s all said and done, what do we know about the man who started the revolution; Justin himself? What were his early years like? Who nurtured his talent? Away from the pitch, how did he cope with being a secretly gay professional footballer? Who were his real friends?”

Anyone with any information about Justin should email nick@makebelievemedia.com

Are you researching a book about a Norwich hero? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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