The Gay Gooners: Sean Moncrieff talks to the largest LGBTQ football supporters group in England

Chair of the group, Dave Raval, chats the Moncrieff show to discuss the growth of the LGBTQ group in England

The Gay Gooners: Sean Moncrieff talks to the largest LGBTQ football supporters group in England

Image: Clive Gee / EMPICS Sport

Football supporter groups have been one of the cornerstones of fan culuture in the UK and bring together supporters from all walks of life.

These sentiments are no better exemplified than by Dave Raval who is chair of the Gay Gooners, Arsenal's LGBTQ supporters group.

He spoke to Sean Moncrieff this afternoon about the group and what it means to the fans.

"Every group that has set up across the country has had a nervous start" he explained.

"But once you have the backing of the club, wihch is very important, and you've got a safe space to meet if you feel you need that, then it's transformational.

"When we started we had only maybe 10, 15 or 20 people coming to the meetings. Now we've got almost 500 members and that is in the space of time since 2013. Things like that can grow once you've got the confidence and the visibility."

Raval revealed that this is a phenomenon which was growing in the UK.

"In England within the 92 porfessional teams there's about 25 groups now. If we take the Premier League there is similar groups in Leicester, Tottenham, Liverpool, West Ham, Chelsea... The big missing one in the Premier League is Manchester United. But it's growing quickly and it's not just in England either."

Raval also highlighted that there are no current openly gay players playing in the Premier League, despite the fact that there were some openly gay female players.

"Football is certainly lagging behind society and definitely behind other sports. If you take rugby league or union, American football or Auusie Rules, there are plenty of players who are openly gay players.

"The questions remains; 'Why not football?' People ask why isn't there a player, but we asked the fans to come out. There's far more of us and it's much more likely than a guy in his teens or early 20s to come out. It's tough to ask a player to do that when plenty of people who haven't done the same themselves."

You can hear the full podcast below.