Campaign to raise £150,000 for statue in tribute to Justin Fashanu

Fashanu had spells at Hearts and Airdrie in the 1990s.

Campaign launched to raise £150,000 for statue in tribute to Justin Fashanu SNS Group

A campaign has been launched to help raise £150,000 for a statue in tribute to Justin Fashanu.

In 1990, former Norwich, Hearts and Airdrie striker Fashanu became the first male professional to come out as gay while still playing.

He took his own life in 1998, aged 37.

Fashanu was the first black footballer to command a £1m transfer fee with his move to Nottingham Forest in 1981. The striker played for a total of 22 clubs in England, North America, Scotland and New Zealand.

In May last year, Blackpool midfielder Jake Daniels became the first active professional player since Fashanu to come out as gay.

LGBTQ+ fans group Proud Canaries are raising funds to pay for the sculpture which will be created by Taslim Martin and is set to depict Fashanu’s raised finger celebration after scoring the BBC Match of the Day’s Goal of the Season against Liverpool in February 1980.

The statue will be situated in a memorial garden on the banks of the River Wensum along the approach to Norwich’s Carrow Road stadium.

Actor and Norwich fan Stephen Fry is supporting the campaign.

“Justin’s legacy is more than just a great footballer who shone bright but burned out too soon, he had the courage to shatter a ceiling that no-one had broken before,” Fry said in a video on the Justin Fashanu Statue YouTube channel.

“The fact that it took 32 years for the brave Jake Daniels of Blackpool to become the second player in the English men’s game to come out is testament to the fear and stigma that male gay and bisexual footballers still endure today.

“Along with lovers of football around the world, I think it’s time to celebrate Justin for what he did and what he represents.”

Fashanu’s niece Amal, the founder of the Justin Fashanu Foundation, added: “This statue will be an incredible tribute to Justin and his legacy.

“We hope it stands as a reminder and a beacon of hope to all who are fighting the struggles of diversity in not only football, but all areas of life.

“​We cannot think of a more fitting place than Norwich City as it was his favourite place during his career.”

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