Sportsong of the Week #28 is the catchy debut single from English indie band Elephants and Castles: Fashanu. It tells the story of Justin Fashanu, Britain's first million pound black player and the first footballer to disclose he was gay, and took his own life in 1998.
Three-piece band Elephants and Castles hope their song Fashanu will help tell his story to a new audience. Singer and guitarist Robin Spencer said: “Today in an an era where high profile sports stars such as [diver] Tom Daley, [American football star] Michael Sam and [rugby player] Gareth Thomas are open about their sexuality, Justin’s story should not be forgotten, it should be told.”
Justin Fashanu was born to a Nigerian barrister and a Guyanese nurse. He began his football career as an apprentice with Norwich City, turning professional in 1978. Fashanu scored 40 goals for the Canaries – including his famous strike against Liverpool in 1980 – in 103 appearances between 1979 and 1981. He 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 tabloid press 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 at a block of garages in Shoreditch in 1998.
Justin Fashanu was the first in many groundbreaking events in sports. Unfortanetely it did not make him totally happen in the end. So listen to the song in tribute!