Blackpool FC footballer Jake Daniels publicly reveals he’s gay

Blackpool FC footballer Jake Daniels has publicly revealed he’s gay - becoming the only openly gay male professional in Britain.

Monday, 16th May 2022, 5:10 pm

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The 17-year-old made the announcement in a Sky Sports interview this evening, having already informed club officials.

Daniels becomes only the second current male player in world football to come out as gay, following in the footsteps of Josh Cavallo, of Australian side Adelaide United.

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Other former players, including former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, came out when their careers had ended.

The only prominent male English footballer to previously reveal they were gay was Justin Fashanu, in 1990.

In a statement released on the club’s website, Daniels revealed he’s been “hiding” his true self.

“This season has been a fantastic one for me on the pitch,” Daniels said in a statement.

Daniels has become the first openly gay footballer in the English game since Justin Fashanu

“I’ve made my first-team debut, scored 30 goals for the youth team, signed my first professional contract and shared success with my team-mates, going on a great run in the FA Youth Cup and lifting the Lancashire FA Pro-Youth Cup.

“But off the pitch I’ve been hiding the real me and who I really am. I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.

“It’s a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I’ve been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change.

“In reaching this point, I’ve had some of the best support and advice from my family, my club, my agent and Stonewall, who have all been incredibly pro-active in putting my interests and welfare first.

“I have also confided in my team-mates in the youth team here at Blackpool and they too have embraced the news and supported my decision to open up and tell people.

“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.”

Daniels made his first-team debut for the Seasiders earlier this month, coming off the bench during the final day defeat to Peterborough United.

The forward, who scored 30 goals for the Under-19 side this season, signed professional terms with the club in February.

Born in Bispham, Daniels has risen through the youth ranks at Bloomfield Road and is expected to have a bright future in the game.

“Blackpool Football Club has worked closely with Stonewall and the relevant footballing organisations to support Jake and is incredibly proud that he has reached a stage where he is empowered to express himself both on-and-off the pitch,” the club said.

“It is vital that we all promote an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves, and that football leads the way in removing any form of discrimination and prejudice.”