Movie on troubled life of former Norwich City star Justin Fashanu, Forbidden Games, to debut at Hot Docs Festival
PUBLISHED: 13:18 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 02 May 2017
The complex story of former Norwich City Football Club player and international star Justin Fashanu will be premiered at an international film festival tonight.
He and his football-playing brother John were brought up by foster parents in Shropham, near Attleborough, from six years old.
Justin became Britain’s first £1m black footballer when he transferred to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in 1981 and was the first player to come out as gay in an interview with The Sun in 1990.
There was a subsequent backlash in a climate of prejudice, and he became a target of crowd abuse and struggled to get a full-time contract.
He took his own life aged 37 at a block of garages in Shoreditch, London, on May 2, 1998.
The documentary film Forbidden Games previews at Toronto’s Hot Docs festival and was produced and directed by Adam Darke and Jon Carey.
Justin and his brother were the sons of a Nigerian barrister living in the UK and a Guyanese nurse named Pearl.
When the couple split up the youngsters were fostered by Alf and Betty Jackson in Shropham.
Justin began his career as an apprentice with Norwich City, turning professional towards the end of December 1978.
He made his league debut on January 13, 1979, against West Bromwich Albion, and became a regular goal scorer.
In 1980, he won the BBC Goal of the Season award, for a spectacular goal against Liverpool.
He managed a total of 103 senior appearances for Norwich, scoring 40 goals.
While at the club he was also capped six times for England at under-21 level.
His career stalled as his professional relationship with Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough deteriorated.
He moved around various clubs before his football-playing career in Britain ended in 1994.
The footballer has since become a symbol of the continuing problems faced by gay men and women in sport and his name is used by the Justin Campaign, launched in 2008 to campaign against homophobia in football.
His brother, John, who attracted attention after commenting on his sibling’s sexuality, started his former football career at Norwich City in 1979 and stayed at the club until 1983.