Hall of Fame recognition for Fash

February 18, 2020

Former Diamonds cult hero Justin Fashanu will tomorrow be inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame at a special ceremony on what would have been his 59th birthday.

 

Justin, who passed away in 1998, joined Airdrie from Torquay United in 1993, playing 21 times for the Diamonds.

 

England’s first and only openly gay professional footballer, Fash played for a variety of clubs during a lengthy 20-year professional football career, but was perhaps best known for his courageous decision to come out publicly in a tabloid interview in October 1990. In the three decades since, there has yet to be another professional footballer to follow suit.

 

He was also the first black footballer to command a £1million transfer fee with his move from Norwich City to Nottingham Forest in 1981, before continuing on to play for a total of 22 clubs in England, North America, Scotland and New Zealand.

 

Justin’s niece Amal Fashanu, herself a high profile campaigner against homophobia in sport and founder of The Justin Campaign, will receive the award on his behalf at the museum in Manchester during LGBT History Month. 

 

The club were delighted to be invited to the event, and to share some tales of Justin’s time at the club to be used in the presentation.

 

Club secretary Ann Marie Ballantyne said: “Justin was like a whirlwind during his time at the club. After his normal lifestyle in London, I can only imagine what his thoughts were when he arrived in Airdrie!

 

“The self-appointed ‘Queen of Diamonds’ is still held as fondly in the hearts of Airdrie fans now as he was on his debut for the club, which can be demonstrated by a fantastic flag bearing his name which is currently displayed at our games, and the fact that songs about him still ring out among the support.

 

“Some people make a mark on your life without you realising it, and it is only once they are gone that you appreciate the effect they had.

 

“As a fan I can say that Justin wore the Diamond with pride, and we were immensely proud to have him in our team.”

Photos © Robert Dalzell

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