( ; 19 February 1961 – 2 May 1998) was an English
footballer who played for a variety of clubs between 1978 and 1997. He was known by his early clubs to be homosexual
, and came out
to the press later in his career, to become the first professional footballer to be openly gay
. He was also the first black footballer to command a £1m transfer fee.
After moving to the United States
, in 1998 he was questioned by police when a seventeen-year-old boy accused him of sexual assault
. Fashanu committed suicide
in May of that year, his suicide note reportedly claiming that the sex was consensual.
Fashanu was the son of a Nigerian barrister
living in England
. When his parents split up, he and his brother, John
, were sent to a Barnardo's
home. When he was six, he and his brother were fostered by Alf and Betty Jackson and were brought up in Shropham
. Justin excelled at boxing
as a youth, and was rumoured at one time to be pursuing a professional boxing career instead of his footballing career.
Justin Fashanu began his career as an apprentice with Norwich City
, turning professional towards the end of December 1978. He made his league debut on 13 January 1979, against West Bromwich Albion
, and settled into the Norwich side scoring regularly and occasionally spectacularly. In 1980, he won the BBC Goal of the Season
award, for a very spectacular goal against......