Rylan’s documentary on football and homophobia is a powerful watch that everyone should make time for

Essential viewing for anyone who wants to help the beautiful game truly live up to its name.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 14th February 2024

Former X-Factor contestant turned TV personality and presenter Rylan Clark’s documentary on homophobia in the world of football aired on TNT Sports this past Tuesday night and it’s probably one of the most important watches we’ve seen in a while.

Broadcast directly after the latest round of Champions League fixtures, when viewing figures are at a natural peak, Rylan’s debut as a lead broadcaster in Football, Homophobia And Me has thousands of viewers at home tuning in to take a more serious inside look at the game they love.

Highlighting one of the sport’s biggest and sadly lasting drawbacks, the 45-minute documentary tackles everything from Ryaln’s own experiences of homophobia growing up as a gay football fan, the stories of other LGBTQ+ footballers and fans, as well as the progress of supporter culture up until now.

Noting that there are still no publicly out LGBTQ+ footballers in the Premier League and very few in top-flight men’s football around the world, the TNT Sports and Discovery+ feature reveals the harsh reality behind the sport’s shameful relationship with homophobia.

There are plenty of footy fans trying to make the ground a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

As well as harking back to awful stories of gender-based discrimination from years gone by such as that of Justin Fashanu, Britain’s first openly gay male footballer who sadly took his own life in 1998, to the countless tales of fans being abused for their sexuality or how they identify, it’s a tough watch at times.


Not only do viewers sit and watch as Rylan interviews England and Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand whilst listening back to the former player saying the word “fa***t” on live radio, but you also get to hear the horrific experiences that the BBC Radio Two host went through.

Supporting his local team West Ham and having been to games ever since he was a kid, the 35-year-old explains how he always felt that sense of unease and being made to not feel entirely welcome inside football stadiums.


Detailing the Catch-22 of being ‘too gay’ to be allowed to football with others and being mocked for enjoying other passions like dancing, his early days as a footy fan culminated in an ambulance rushing him to hospital after his skull was fractured by a bunch of boys who repeatedly kicked and stamped on him for his sexuality.

A truly awful story but one that’s important to hear.

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Interviewing the first openly gay football manager in the grassroots game and LGBTQ-friendly supporters’ organisations like his club’s Pride of Irons groups; retired gay footballers like ex-Aston Villa and West Ham midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, just to name a few, it gives a real perspective from those who have lived it first-hand.

Rylan and several of those he speaks to also call out empty virtue signalling in football without any real support, the likes of Jordan Henderson for contradicting his position as a Rainbow Laces ambassador by moving to Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is outlawed and punishable by death, as well questioning why there is a difference in attitudes towards gay footballers in the women’s game.


As he himself puts it, we sincerely hope for the day “doing documentaries like this” and there is no need for players to make “coming out videos on social media”.

Rylan’s Football, Homophobia And Me documentary is an essential watch not only for anyone who wants to help cut out discrimination in the beautiful game and leave it in a better place but for anyone who needs a reminder of how much work there still is to do.

You can watch Rylan’s documentary on TNT Sports and Discovery+ HERE — and we truly implore that you do.

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Featured Images — TNT Sports/ITV Sport (screenshots)