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Ex-footballer thinks ‘ridiculous gay rumours’ are the reason he never made the England team

Patrick Kelleher June 9, 2020
Ian Bishop gay football

Ian Bishop in 1988 (Ben Radford/Allsport via Getty)

Retired footballer Ian Bishop thinks rumours that he was secretly gay stopped him from making the England team.

The former player believes his chances of making the England team were knocked by rumours that he was in a relationship with team mate Trevor Morley.

Bishop, who now lives in the United States, was transferred from Manchester City to West Ham in 1991 alongside Morley.

He thought he was on track to make the top team, but “ridiculous gay rumours” began to circulate following a near-fatal stabbing by his wife.

The 55-year-old said he had heard that a player on the national team was asking questions about his relationship with Morley, according to the Daily Star.

Ex-footballer Ian Bishop thinks ‘ridiculous’ gay rumours stopped his career from progressing.

“Whether people think I was good enough or not, I wasn’t going to displace Gazza (Paul Gascoigne),” he said.

“But other players did get caps and jumped ahead of me in the queue.

“And I heard rumours at the time that someone from the international set-up asked about my sexuality.

“My manager asked why I wasn’t in the next England B squad. Why, after one game, was I not involved?”

Looking back on his failure to make the England team, Bishop said gay rumours affected both him and Morley.

“He was my friend and I was watching him suffer. I was also getting abuse for no reason whatsoever,” he added.

Justin Fashanu became the first openly gay footballer in the UK in 1990, but he later died by suicide.

Rumours about his sexuality were so pervasive that football fans would shout abuse at him during matches.

He later moved his family to Southport so his children could go to school far away from where he trained in Manchester.

I heard rumours at the time that someone from the international set-up asked about my sexuality.

To date, Britain has only ever had one openly gay professional footballer to play in a major league. Justin Fashanu came out as gay in 1990 and tragically died by suicide eight years later.

It was recently reported that his niece is providing support to seven secretly gay professional footballers in the UK who aren’t yet ready to come out publicly.

The Professional Footballers Association (PFA) drafted Amal Fashanu in for support. She recently revealed that two of the men are Premier League players who are afraid to go public due to the potential backlash from fans.

 

More: England, football, homophobia in football, Ian Bishop, Justin Fashanu, world cup

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