Top clubs have been encouraged to follow the example of Altrincham FC after they wore a rainbow coloured kit in a competitive fixture in support of football’s fight against homophobia.
In a move the club say is the first of of its kind, the non-league side’s usual red and white stripes were replaced with the colours of the LGBT pride flag for their National League North fixture at home to Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday.
The kits feature the logo of Football v Homophobia and have attracted global attention.
“It’s fantastic for us and has had amazing support,” campaign director Lou Englefield told the Press Association. “You could not believe the debate and talk it’s caused across the world.
“Obviously it’s also been met with some homophobic and derogatory comments on social media over the last week too, but that happens when people stick their heads over the parapet and Altrincham have done that today.”
Ms Englefield said other non-league clubs have contacted the campaign about making similar statements of support, but she would also like to see clubs from the top end of English football taking part.
“It would be amazing to see one of the big clubs to follow Altrincham’s lead,” she said. “Let’s get that message out as far and as wide as possible.
“But to be fair the coverage Altrincham have had has reached Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America, it’s been amazing.”
Before the game kicked off, club chairman Bill Waterson told the club’s website: “We believe it will be the first time anywhere in the world that a senior football club has worn a kit solely modelled on the LGBT Pride Flag.
“And Altrincham will, therefore, be creating a small moment of football history.”
The match at the J Davidson Stadium ended 1-1, with Altrincham midfielder Josh Hancock’s first-half finish cancelled out by a scrambled late equaliser from the visitor’s Danny East.
After the game, the rainbow-coloured kits are set to be auctioned, with all proceeds going to the Proud Trust, an LGBT youth charity.