Petition launched calling for statue of City legend Justin Fashanu
PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 June 2020
A petition has been launched calling for the first and only openly gay professional footballer - Norwich City legend Justin Fashanu - to be immortalised in stone at the home of the Canaries.
The late striker, who this year was added to football’s hall of fame, took his own life in 1998 after enduring years of discrimination over his race and sexuality.
Now, with statues being widely debated on a national scale, calls have been made for Fashanu to be immortalised outside of Carrow Road with a statue of his own.
The petition, which has been signed more than 100 times, was set up by City fan Andrew Reeve who, writing for this newspaper, said the campaign had been inspired by recent events, which saw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston torn down in Bristol.
He wrote: “The idea for a statue celebrating Justin Fashanu isn’t because he is black. It’s not because he was gay. It’s not because he had mental health issues.
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“It is because he was a human being who achieved great things despite the abuse he suffered for being black, or being gay, or for being depressed, or for all three.”
Mr Reeve’s calls were echoed by Di Cunningham, of LGBTQ+ supporters’ group Proud Canaries, who said Fashanu’s influence was much more than what he did on the field.
She said: “Justin meant so much to so many people in Norfolk - he was a community hero who was heavily involved in fundraising locally.
“He was a wonderfully gifted footballer but he was so much more than that - everything he did was in the face of horrific discrimination. He was such an inspirational person.
“I know this suggestion will be divisive and there are lots of other players who you could argue deserve statues - players like Duncan Forbes and Jerry Goss - but there is nobody really quite like Justin on a wider scale.
“This is not in any way saying other players have not had impact or are not deserving - it is about celebrating everything Justin did as a guy who did amazing things while battling so much exclusion.”
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