There are now almost fifty LGBT+ Supporters Groups in existence across the English and Scottish Leagues (with Proud Rovers [Blackburn Rovers] being the most recent addition), covering a large range of clubs at all levels of professional football from top Premiership teams right down to Non-League clubs.
Shrewsbury Town now has their own - Proud Salopians - as we have worked to establish the group since earlier this year - we’ve already represented the club in summer’s Pride March in Birmingham, we have regular participation in the Supporter’s Parliament alongside fellow supporters groups, and I’m pleased to share we now have a launch event confirmed next week.
Some have asked why it’s needed, suggesting such groups are just segregating crowds further – the reality is we want to support the team just like everyone else does – but we also want to take the opportunity to work alongside fellow supporters groups and the club to make the atmosphere around the stadium even better than it currently is, to encourage more supporters from minority groups to feel as comfortable as possible in attending matches and being part of the fabric of our increasingly diverse and inclusive club.
Football v Homophobia’s End of Season Survey in 2018 found some 65% of home fans and 72% of away fans of Football League clubs did not consider or act to report homophobic or transphobic chanting at football. I can only vouch for my own experiences but I’m personally delighted that it’s been a very long time since I’ve heard any such comments at a home match from my fellow Salop fans – however I’ve heard and had to report homophobic comments whilst travelling as an away fan at a number of grounds over the years, so I’m aware there is still a lot of work to do to bring the general community around football into modern, accepting times.
We hope that in establishing a similar group here at Shrewsbury, we can help build increased awareness and encourage more people to attend games and being involved with the club who may not otherwise have been. We’re eager to work alongside the club, Shrewsbury Town in the Community, other supporter’s groups and local LGBTQ+ groups to ensure that our club and facilities are open, welcoming and inclusive towards all attending.
We would very much like to extend a warm welcome to all interested supporters to our Welcome Event ahead of our next home league game vs Gillingham on Tuesday October 22nd, 2019 (18:00 for an 18:30 start). This will be a free-to-attend event in the newly refurbished Reech Community Hub (behind the Salop Leisure South Stand) and is expected to last no more than one hour.
There will be complimentary hot and cold refreshments for all, with guest speakers - including Maria Horner and Anwar Uddin (Fans For Diversity Campaign Officer and Campaign Manager at the Football Supporters Association) - an opportunity to get hold of one of our limited ‘Proud Salopian’ supporters pin badges and hopefully a surprise or two (which we’re working on behind the scenes!)
We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible – if you’ve any questions please don’t hesitate to tweet us @salopianpride, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or we’re also on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/salopianpride/
Floreat Salopia, and see you on Tuesday!
Proud Salopians Co-Founder