North East football clubs support Jake Daniels: The first openly gay pro footballer in over 30 years

Jake Daniels is the first openly gay professional footballer, who is actively playing, who has come out as gay. Credit: PA Images

Support from across the North East football community has been pouring in for Blackpool footballer Jake Daniels after he announced he was gay.

The 17-year-old is the first British man in the professional game to come out publicly since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

In a statement released via his club Blackpool FC, Daniels said he had been "inspired" by people like Josh Cavallo and Matt Morton, as well as Olympic diver Tom Daley, "to have the courage and determination to drive change".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson commended the "bravery" and "courage" of Daniels after he came out as gay.

Mr Johnson tweeted: "Thank you for your bravery Jake, it would have taken huge courage to come out and you will be an inspiration to many both on and off the pitch."

Here's how the football community in our region have been reacting:

Newcastle United Football Club

Newcastle United tweeted: "Football is for everyone. Newcastle United and the whole football community is with you, Jake!"

United With Pride is the Official Newcastle United LGBT+ inclusive supporters group and said it was delighted with the announcement.

"It was a landmark day for anyone who works in or plays in LGBTQ+ sport, but particularly football," said group co-founder and United as One ambassador Ian Pearson-Brown.

"It is testament to local clubs, the FA and Premier league who work hard to try and improve the lives of gay people in the sport."

He continued: "We were pre-match (Newcastle V Arsenal), and it was just a fantastic day for us all. We've all gone to the ground waving our flags just to be visible and try and tackle homophobia in the sport whether online or in the ground.

"All of that has been for this day, for a young 17-year-old to be able to be his authentic self, it's just music to our ears."

United with Pride chant 'there's only one Jake Daniels'

  • Video from Debbie Cannon, United with Pride

Sunderland Football Club

Sunderland AFC added its support into the mix, tweeting: "An inspirational message from an incredibly courageous young man. All of football is with you, Jake."

Hartlepool FC

And Hartlepool FC wrote: "Hartlepool United commend the courage shown by Jake Daniels, we hope his bravery is an inspiration for others to feel they are able to follow in his footsteps. "Football is a game for all."

Middlesborough FC

Writing on Twitter, Middlesbrough FC tweeted: "Well done Jake. What you have said here will inspire and give courage to so many."

The Rainbow Reds, a group of LGBTQ+ supporters for Middlesbrough FC, said: "Absolute credit to Jake, at 17 years old as well, the footballing community is a better and happier place with you in it Jake."

Daniels signed his first professional contract with Blackpool in February and made his Championship debut earlier this month.

He was supported in coming out by his club and the LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall.

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