Across my life my opinions of football fans has changed. I used to believe that football fans used to think of themselves as a large family who may support different teams but ultimately they’re all a large part of some weirdly dysfunctional family. Today as I write this it is valentine’s day and so far Liverpool have rather humiliated Aston Villa and Arsenal have pulled themselves back into the title race, which they will inevitably throw away over the coming months.
I am a prolific twitter user over at @DBizzle97 and I saw the Match of the day twitter account ask for some Valentine’s themed replies and so I returned
Roses are red,
Violets are purple,
My love will never die,
For You Mesut Özil.
I felt very honoured when @BBCMOTD retweeted it within seconds as I expected it to be lost amidst a sea of considerably better jokes and roses are red-style poems. Initially I was overjoyed with this tweet doing very successfully apparently being viewed on over 80,000 people’s timelines which for a boy with 118 followers, most of who may not even use twitter any longer, was utterly baffling.
However this joy was short lived, as very quickly people wanted to let their voice be heard. I tweeted at 10:29am and so was retweeted at the latest at 10:30am by @BBCMOTD and by 10:33 I had my first (of five) tweets calling me a “nonce”; for those of you not au fait with British slang nonce is a slang term for a paedophile. This to me symbolises everything that is wrong with the football community because as a bisexual football fan I like to think that football is a more accepting community.
One was especially ridiculous as they likened me to the (now former) Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson who recently pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity including kissing with a fifteen year old girl. This is very worrying as people still see the LGBT+ community as inherently predatory.
One very famous statistic is that there has never been an openly LGBT+ footballer in the premier league and with rumours of two possible players coming out the way that supporters talk about these issues will inevitably shape the entirety of LGBT people within sports. I used to believe that if and when footballers came out that the main source of controversy would be from other players in the dressing rooms rather than from supporters but I managed to have homophobic abuse tweeted at me for just making what I thought was just a harmless little joke.
I hope that as time moves on these people will become more tolerant, but they are most importantly becoming a minority they just shout a lot louder than those that accept people. But if you’re closeted whether a football fan or not you are not predatory you are absolutely fine just as you are whether you know what you are or not, you are always valid.