Hanwell Town FC hosted Harrow Borough FC in the Middlesex Senior Challenge Cup.
As we had entered into the second phase of the Rainbow Laces campaign dates, the game was chosen to celebrate and support the Stonewall Campaign, in partnership with Middlesex FA. There were many ways that this was shown on the day. Upon arrival to the stadium, we were greeted with banners and posters raising awareness and showing support for the campaign. The players also came together for a joint photo holding a rainbow flag. Support was also shown via the matchday programme and on social media from both clubs on the day.
Following the match we caught up with Russell Simpson – EDI Lead at Hanwell Town FC, to find out more from the club.
Russell said, “Apart from the occasional match at my hometown team, Darlington FC, I’d gradually stopped going to stadium matches around 2017. This was due to ongoing homophobic language and behaviour I encountered which tarnished the match day experience for me.
I therefore resorted to watching matches at home or in the local pub. I also questioned whether at 46 years of age did I really have the energy for another ‘coming out’ or having to deal with any negative reactions from fellow supporters and/or players.
As a Hanwell resident, I eventually plucked up the courage to go along to a few matches at Hanwell Town FC. The initial matches showed my concerns were completely unfounded. I’ve gradually become a regular fixture at Hanwell Town matches and given the increasing number of activities I volunteered myself for, the Club was asked me to join the Committee at the start of this season.
Whilst my experience with Hanwell has been mostly positive, that’s not to say I’ve not encountered any homophobic language or behaviour in the last 12 months. However, when the first incident did occur at an away match the support from the Club was immediate and unwavering.
As a result I couldn’t be prouder of their commitment to each and every aspect of both equality, diversity and inclusion. This year we’ve taken part in numerous events from Pride in the summer, to Black History Month in October. Hence the Rainbow Laces match is a continued part of the Club’s efforts to ensure everyone is welcome at their games.”
At Middlesex FA we continue to push forward on our work Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. With the work of our Inclusion Advisory Board, our staff and the Middlesex Football Community, in the past year we have been obtained the Preliminary Equality Standard and continue to work towards achieving the next level of the Equality Standard Framework for Sport. The footballing community in Middlesex is one of the most diverse in the country, and we want to continue our working in providing as many opportunities to enjoy football, for everyone across the county.
Following Hanwell Town & Harrow Borough’s unwavering support for the Rainbow Laces campaign, we caught up with Football Development Officer (Inclusion), Daniel Perkins, to get his thoughts on their support. Daniel said, “It’s great to see two of our most Senior Clubs coming together to support and promote the Rainbow Laces campaign in 2022. Hanwell Town & Harrow Borough have shown both the football community and also the wider public that everybody is welcome in football!
We want to provide equal, safe access for everyone at football sessions, and grounds across the County. We hope that this show of support from two of our most recognised teams will help to further highlight the message of the campaign, and that we will continue to see the support grow and grow. The campaign continues to run in 2022, and ends on 18th December, if any clubs want to throw their support behind the campaign then please don’t hesitate in contact me.”
If Hanwell Town & Harrow Borough have inspired you to get involved in the Rainbow Laces campaign, there is still time to show your support. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more.