The Name of the Game...
SAFC LGBTQ was setup in February 2019 by LGBTQ Advocate Sam Willey (Aka: Sam Wise) after the club called for a fan to setup an LGBTQ supporters group during the Stonewall rainbow laces campaign in November 2018. Sam has a background in journalism and currently works as a social media consultant and presents a weekly LGBTQ podcast.
Sunderland is home for Sam and he’s always supported SAFC and is passionate about making football more welcoming for LGBTQ supporters.
Sam’s interest in LGBTQ issues in football in particular began when presenting ‘Being LGBT’ a speech based radio show on Spark Sunderland based at the University of Sunderland. The series was co-presented by Kieron Brady, former Sunderland football player turned equality expert.
SAFC LGBTQ officially launched on Saturday March 2nd 2019 at the Stadium of Light, attended by the first members and representatives from the club, officially launching our mission to make the stadium a place of equality, diversity and inclusion.
Former Sunderland footballer, LGBTQ ally and Equality Expert Kieron Brady joined the members for the launch which took place before Sunderland's League 1 game against Plymouth Argyle. Coincidentally Plymouth were the first side Kieron played against for SAFC, back in November 1989, which resulted in a 3-1 win. The Black Cats were on winning form almost 30 years later, winning 2-0.
At the start of the 2019/20 season SAFC launched #OneClubOurClub an initiate aimed at bringing fans together. As part of this at every home game the club committed to displaying the 'One Club Our Club' slogan around the pitch and on the score board in rainbow colours. And for the first time a rainbow flag displaying the SAFC LGBTQ logo was on display behind the Roker End goal.
In September 2019 SAFC LGBTQ launched a membership drive attending events including Sunderland College Freshers and collaborating with the University of Sunderland.
SAFC LGBTQ will have a stall at Sunderland Pride 2019 on Sunday September 29th.
And that’s our journey so far…