Justin Fashanu: Fans remember Norwich City star's wonder goal

  • Published
Banner in tribute to Justin Fashanu's "magnificent goal" at Carrow Road in 1980Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
A giant rainbow banner of Fashanu was unfurled by fans - featuring Barry Davies' memorable Match of the Day commentary on the goal

A spectacular strike by the first professional footballer to come out as gay has been honoured 40 years on by his club and its LGBT+ fans.

Norwich City's Justin Fashanu sent Carrow Road into raptures with his BBC Goal of the Season strike against Liverpool in February 1980.

A giant rainbow banner of Fashanu was unfurled by fans as the Canaries took on league-leaders Liverpool.

Fashanu, who came out in 1990, took his own life in 1998.

Image source, Shutterstock
Image caption,
Justin Fashanu and Alan Hansen compete for the ball in the fixture in February 1980

LGBT+ fans group Proud Canaries and other supporters wanted to pay their respects to Fashanu, both as a spectacular goalscorer and a gay man in professional football.

"Fashanu is treasured in this city for his artistry as a player and by the LGBT+ community for his courage in not hiding who he was," said fan and banner artist David Shenton.

"He is the only elite male player, not just in Premier League football but in the world to have come out."

Image source, David Shenton
Image caption,
Artist David Shenton created a design based on Barry Davies' commentary

The game between Norwich City and Liverpool kicked off at 17:30 GMT.

The 20m (66ft) tribute and a special commemorative scarf depict commentator Barry Davies' description of the pass sequence which ended with Fashanu's "magnificent goal".

The left-footed curler beat England goalkeeper Ray Clemence, and featured in a 3-5 defeat by the champions.

Media caption,

Justin Fashanu's subdued goal celebration saw him raise his index finger before being hugged by team mates

The strike was Match of the Day's Goal of the Season and in 1981 Fashanu became the country's first £1m black player when he signed for Nottingham Forest.

The former England under-21 came out in an interview in The Sun in 1990 and eight years later was found dead in a lock-up garage in London.

"I'm overwhelmed that Justin still has such an important place in the hearts of Norwich fans," said Di Cunningham, of Proud Canaries.

"Football will be a space where everyone feels confident to be themselves when more of us champion difference - and that means challenging disrespect from other fans."

Image caption,
Norwich City fan Di Cunningham celebrated the event with artist David Shenton

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.uk

Around the BBC