Jake, who signed his first professional deal with Blackpool in February, said in his statement that he had been “hiding the real me”, but has “known my whole life that I’m gay”.
“I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself,” he revealed.
While admitting that this was “a step into the unknown”, Jake said that he been inspired by fellow footballers Josh Cavallo, and Matt Morton, as well as athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to “have the courage and determination to drive change”.
He said that he hopes to be a “role model” for others in the future.
Since the news broke and Jake shared his message with fans on Blackpool FC’s website yesterday evening, the footballing world and countless members of the public have been reacting with love and expressing their messages of support on social media – calling it a “significant” moment in sporting history.
The statement read: “Jake, you are an inspiration to us all and we fully support your decision to be open about this part of yourself. Football is a game for all, with diversity at its heart, and this is a hugely positive step as we strive to build an inclusive game that we can all be proud of.
Former players and current pundits and presenters Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand were among the many famous names to share messages.
Lineker also said in a follow-up tweet: “I honestly think that, aside from a few homophobic morons, football will be incredibly welcoming and enormously supportive towards a gay footballer.
“It’s long overdue for a player to ‘come out’ even though it’s ridiculous that it’s even necessary. A footballer is a footballer.”
England captain Harry Kane also said “football should be welcoming for everyone”.
Jake’s message was also discussed on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football yesterday, where pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher praised the young player for his actions and talked about the culture of football leading up to this point.
“It’s a day of great importance for English football,” Neville said.
“I want to stop and take a moment to acknowledge Jake’s announcement and say how very proud I am for his bravery,” Josh Cavallo also said in a touching statement.
“It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that my story has helped guide Jake to be his true self.
“It’s touching to see the millions of people that my story has impacted and inspired around the world, and to see it help evolve the world game at all levels, is fantastic. This world and the game of football has a place for everyone. Love will always win.”
Prime Minster Boris Johnson even took to Twitter to share support for Jake, adding: “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.”
Leader of Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, added on Twitter: “This shows real courage and bravery and will serve as an inspiration to many young people across the country.
“Thank you Jake. We are all with you.”
Members of the public also shared messages of support in their thousands.
Jake Daniels became the first professional male player in English football to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu 32 years ago, and he said in his message to fans: “I’ve hated lying my whole life and feeling the need to change to fit in.
“I want to be a role model myself by doing this.
“There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality. I just want to tell them that you don’t have to change who you are, or how you should be, just to fit in.
“You being you, and being happy, is what matters most.”
Featured Image – Blackpool FC
Police appeal for information regarding ‘serious assault’ around Old Trafford before United game in October
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are appealing for fresh information on a “serious assault” committed around the Old Trafford area earlier this year.
GMP issued a press release on Friday, 9 December, asking for members of the public to come forward and share any details they might have on the attack carried along Seymour Grove in Trafford around 1:30pm on 16 October 2022.
They go on to explain that “a man in his 20s was assaulted by a group of unknown males” on the way to the game at Old Trafford, adding that “it is believed that the suspects were also attending the Manchester United vs Newcastle United match.”
It remains unclear whether or not the assailants were travelling fans in town to support the away side but GMP are looking to speak to the men pictured as they may be able to help with enquiries.
As detailed in the statement, “the victim suffered a severely broken jaw, a broken nose, numerous cuts to the face, and damage to the nerves of four teeth which he is likely to need further medical treatment for.” Terrible stuff.
The authorities are continuing to investigate the Seymour Grove assault after having followed up on a number of lines of enquiry since the incident took place and are now asking for the public’s help.
Anyone with information, or anyone who may have footage/images, or can identify the men in the photos, can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, quoting log number 1589 on 16/10/22; or, alternatively use the Live Chat service HERE.
Alternatively, information can be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Featured Image — Greater Manchester Police/David Dixon (via Geograph)
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.