A daily-turned-weekly has scooped national news outlets with an exclusive interview with Britain’s only openly gay current footballer.
The Lincolnshire Echo got in contact with Gainsborough Trinity winger Liam Davis in the week that former Aston Villa and Everton player Thomas Hitzlsperger became the first gay ex-Premier League player to reveal his sexuality.
The 23-year-old footballer, who has been openly gay for four years, had aired his views on the matter on Twitter and he soon received an interview request from the Echo’s sports editor John Pakey.
Liam, whose team play in the Skrill Conference North, spoke with John at length about his sexuality and said he had been able to count on the support of friends and family since coming out in 2009.
The midfielder told the paper he is unaware of any other currently active footballers who are gay, but hopes that more feel comfortable to follow in his footsteps before his own career is over.
John said that Liam was eager to talk about his experiences because he knows he has nothing to be ashamed of.
“He is perfectly at ease with his sexuality, as are his team mates, and he is confident it has no bearing on his football career,” he said.
“Fair play to him for being so open on an issue which has often seemed with players who are still active in the game.”
The Echo’s exclusive story was subsequently picked up by The Times, BBC and several other newspapers.
Echo editor Steven Fletcher said: “This was an important piece of journalism and Liam deserves great credit for coming out and talking about his experiences while he is still playing.
“None of us know how many gay footballers are playing the game, but the exposure Liam has received will hopefully help others when they are worrying about what reaction they might get.
“I’m pleased the piece has had some excellent national exposure and that all the reaction has been so favourable.”