Profile of footballer Justin Fashanu.
Biography; Documentary; Sport; Television
Documentary profile of the life and career of Norfolk-raised footballer Justin Fashanu, just the second black player to represent Norwich City Football Club.
Fashanu begins by discussing his sense of responsibility as a black role model, before the focus shifts to his childhood. Fashanu, along with his brother John, were sent to a Barnardos children's home in London after their parents separated, and the pair were raised in Shopham, Norfolk by Betty and Alfred Jackson, who had no qualms about raising black children and saw no adverse reaction in the neighbourhood.
Highlighting Fashanu's initial contact with racism in his early teens and his more comfortable time at Attleborough High School, interviews with former teachers and coaches reveal him to be a well-adjusted student and a dedicated athlete. Also interviewed are Ronnie Brooks, the chief scout at Norwich City Football Club, and Joe Royle and Graham Paddon, two of Fashanu's teammates at Norwich. Interviews with Fashanu himself includes some of his highlights, and a discussion about racist chanting, which he takes in his stride, claiming that it is never driven by hatred.
Also covered is Fashanu's life outside Norwich City FC, from his regular spot on BBC Radio Norfolk and his involvement at Shropham FC, to his life at home with the Jackson's. The programme concludes with Fashanu discussing his future prospects, including a desire to get richer and more famous so that he might help others, and a dream of becoming the first black manager in professional football.
After leaving Norwich at the end of the 1980/81 season as the first player to command a £1m transfer fee, Justin Fashanu faced a very rocky career. Unable to settle at one club for more than a handful of years (his longest spell was 62 games for Notts County, 1982-85). In 1990, he became the first openly gay professional footballer, and, having struggled to establish a consistent career (despite a promising spell at Torquay United), he spent the rest of his playing days at a variety of clubs across Britain, North America and Australasia. Accused of sexual assault in the US state of Maryland in 1998, Fashanu returned to England, and sadly committed suicide a few weeks later.
Justin Fashanu; John Fashanu; Betty Jackson; Alfred Jackson; Ronnie Brooks; Joe Royle; Graham Paddon
Norwich City Football Club; Shropham Football Club; BBC Radio Norfolk; Burlington Health Club, Norwich
Carrow Road Stadium, Norwich