Coady sits down with Stonewall FC duo

Wolves captain Conor Coady recently met Stonewall FC duo Jay Lemonius and Shane McCullough to discuss the topic of Stonewall in depth.

Stonewall FC compete in the Middlesex County League, step 11 of the football pyramid, but their mission goes way beyond football – they’re working to create an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people.

Coady met the Stonewall FC pair at Compton and then Molineux, and they spoke at length about homophobia in football and shared their personal experiences within the game.

At the start of December, Wolves joined the rest of the Premier League in celebrating Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, demonstrating the club’s ongoing commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion and making it clear that football is for everyone.

The Burnley fixture on 1st December was the club’s dedicated Rainbow Laces game, when Wolves showed support through a variety of methods, including through special matchday programmes and tickets, rainbow-themed captain’s armbands, laces and badges, and rainbow-coloured flames pre-match.

As Coady donned the rainbow captain’s armband that night, and at Norwich City the previous Saturday, he represented the club impressively, and meeting Lemonius and McCullough was the latest educational tool.

On the topic, Coady said: “You want people to be happy, you want this great sport of ours to be the most open sport as well – that’s what we need to get to. If we get to the point where somebody does come out as gay in the Premier League or within football, once that happens, it will be a big sigh of relief.

“Do I think we can do loads more? Of course I do. People for years will try to do loads more. Now us, who are playing the game now, can try and educate and develop people coming through. People live by this game and we have such a platform to make a difference and a massive thing for me is to make things better for children growing up.”

The trio discussed issues they’ve experienced in football stadiums relating to sexuality and delved into methods which could create a more inclusive environment for all involved in the game.

McCullough said: “There’s a lot about the matchday which can be quite exclusionary, some of the chants from the crowds in a big issue, and that may mean that those who haven’t had the gateway to get into the stands, it can put them off. Representation on the pitch is just as important as representation in the stands as well.”

The Rainbow Laces campaign grows year on year, and Lemonius said: “It’s crazy that, ultimately, all it is is a pair of laces. The key thing is a pair of laces isn’t going to change the world, but the conversations we’re able to have because of the laces are so much more impactful.”

Stonewall also work close with EA Sports and Stonewall FC’s kit, donning the blue, pink and white transgender pride strip, is available to use on FIFA 22.