Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer in England to come out as gay.

Coming through at Norwich City’s academy, he first signed professional terms in 1978. He quickly became a regular in the Canaries side, and a now-famous volley against Liverpool in 1980 was voted that season’s BBC Goal of the Season.

Fashanu’s 19 goals in 1980-81 were not enough to keep Norwich from the drop, but his performances attracted the attention of the country’s biggest clubs. Nottingham Forest ultimately secured his signature, making him the country’s first black £1 million player.

However, a strained relationship with Brian Clough would see Fashanu struggle to find his feet at the City Ground, with the Forest manager critical of his lifestyle. Justin impressed on loan at Southampton, who could not afford to make the move permanent, before enjoying a small career revival at Notts County.

In October 1990, fearing that he was about to be outed by a national newspaper, Justin Fashanu came out as gay via an interview with The Sun. In doing so, he became the first openly gay professional footballer in the UK.

In the tail end of his career, Fashanu once again found himself among the goals at Torquay United, before winding down his playing days with the likes of Airdrieonians and Hearts. Once his playing days were over, Fashanu moved to the United States. In May 1998, he returned to London, where he took his own life at the age of 37.

During the early days of his career, Fashanu made eleven appearances for England’s under-21 side, scoring five times. This shirt represents his raw talent and promise, arguably stymied by the prevailing attitudes of the era.

Justin was posthumously inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame in 2020, with niece Amal accepting the award on his behalf.