Justin Fashanu: National Football Museum's Hall of Fame honour hailed by niece Amal

'Talented, smart, well-loved and charming': Amal Fashanu remembers 'Uncle Justin' as he is inducted into Hall of Fame

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Justin Fashanu's niece Amal believes his induction into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame is a reward for his achievements both on and off the pitch

The late Justin Fashanu has been inducted into the National Football Museum's Hall of Fame, on what would have been his 59th birthday.

Fashanu was England's first male English professional to come out publicly as gay while still playing, back in 1990 and took his own life in 1998.

His niece Amal Fashanu, who campaigns against homophobia in sport and is a co-founder of The Justin Fashanu Foundation, received the award on his behalf at the museum in Manchester on Wednesday morning during LGBT History Month.

Fashanu was the first black footballer to command a £1m transfer fee with his move from Norwich City to Nottingham Forest in 1981. He played for a total of 22 clubs in England, North America, Scotland and New Zealand.

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Amal says the Fashanu family were 'honoured' to learn of her uncle's Hall of Fame induction

Amal Fashanu said: "Today would have been Uncle Justin's 59th birthday and what a way to celebrate it on his behalf.

"One of my favourite memories of Uncle Justin was his playful, cheeky character. He was so fun to be around and he would have been the life and soul of this event.

"Justin Fashanu was talented, smart, well-loved and charming. It warms my heart to witness his legacy being honoured more than 21 years after his untimely passing.

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"It's unfortunate that we are still discussing discrimination in football in 2020 and it's because of this harsh reality that we decided to create a platform in his name to tackle homophobia, racism and mental health within the game.

"The Justin Fashanu Foundation would like to thank the National Football Museum and all stakeholders involved who came together to honour my Uncle Justin."

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Di Cunningham, the founder of Norwich's Proud Canaries fans group, says Fashanu should be remembered as an 'LGBT+ footballing icon', as well as a 'magical' player

Fashanu's induction coincided with the launch of the National Football Museum's LGBT+ Tour which features objects from the museum's collection, telling the story of LGBT+ history within the context of football.

National Football Museum chief executive Tim Desmond added: "We're delighted to present this award to Amal Fashanu on behalf of Justin and the Justin Fashanu Foundation.

"The National Football Museum Hall of Fame aims to recognise a wide diversity of individuals who've made an outstanding contribution to the game.

"Justin was a pioneer on many levels and with this award we acknowledge not only Justin's legacy but also the importance of the LGBT+ community within football."

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