Player-boss of Norfolk football team opens up about being gay
PUBLISHED: 21:11 11 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:54 12 October 2020
The player-boss of a Norfolk football team has opened up about his decision to come out as being gay.
Matt Morton, who became boss of Thetford United in September last year, had already opened up to his friends and family before telling his team-mates and has now spoken candidly about his sexuality on Sky Sports to mark Coming Out Day.
Morton, who joined the Eastern Counties League Premier Division club as a player in the summer of 2017 and served as player-coach before being appointed player-boss in September last year, said: “Because I didn’t work it out until late in life, I’ve become that very, very typical alpha male footballer who was the captain, who wanted to be manager, who, you know, was not particularly shy, you know, pretty short tempered, pretty vocal and I’m one of the lads, for sure, and I think once you’re established as that character to then come out, it makes it a bit more shocking to a lot of people.
“But it also, once that’s kind of done, it makes other people realise that their stereotype of what a gay guy was and is, is actually completely wrong”.
Morton, who lives at Bury St Edmunds, was 30 when he came out as gay to his closest friend, who was also his former lodger.
He admitted that it was “a bit of a shock for him”.
The defender said he had no inkling that he was gay until he met someone in January 2018 and found himself inexplicably attracted.
Morton has been discussing what he’s learned from his experiences and how it relates to football to mark Coming Out Day, in the hope that he can help raise awareness around the process and why it’s complicated for LGBT+ people, particularly young men in football and other team sports.
He said his friends and family, including elder brother and sister, have been fully supportive of him having come out as gay.
It is somewhat in contrast to what Justin Fashanu experienced after he came out as gay in 1990 before he committed suicide in 1998 at the age of 37.
Capped by England at Under-21 level, Justin Fashanu was the first black footballer to command a £1million transfer fee when he moved from Norwich to Forest in 1981.