An analyst at a League Two club who has come out as gay has lamented the lack of progress within football when it comes to players and coaches having the courage to reveal their true sexuality.
Daniel Hutchings, part of the first-team staff at Stevenage, said gay people working within football will be ‘stuck in a kind of limbo’ until a high-profile player comes out.
In a Twitter message, Hutchings said: ‘I’ve seen it first hand that it’s so difficult to work within professional football and be openly gay.’
It came after the former Manchester United and France defender Patrice Evra claimed there are at least two gay players in every football team but they would be forced out the club if they came out.
Josh Cavallo, who plays for Adelaide United in Australia’s A-League, is the world’s only openly gay top-flight footballer and received a wave of support when he opened up about his sexuality last year.
But as Hutchings, who started in his position at Stevenage last year having previously been at National League outfit Barnet, confirmed it remains a taboo subject within most clubs.
Daniel Hutchings, a first-team analyst at League Two club Stevenage, has spoken about the difficulties of being openly gay and working in professional football
In a Twitter post, Hutchings came out as gay and then spoke about the lack of progress on the issue within the game with barely any footballers having the courage to reveal they are gay
He wrote: ‘I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but never plucked up the courage – I’m gay. Shock, horror!
‘I stopped caring what people thought about my sexuality a while ago but even still, I’ve seen it first hand that it’s so difficult to work within professional football and be openly gay.
‘This is a big deal for me to do this. I haven’t even been able to bring myself to tell my teammates and colleagues at my club first about this, so to them I apologise. And surprise!
‘I’ve been involved in the game since I was a kid, whether as a player growing up or as an analyst now, and I always thought I could go through my career without ever mentioning it – it’s no one’s business ultimately!
‘But through the years it’s become harder and header to keep it up.
‘I also hoped that things might have progressed within the sport that I so dearly love. Sadly, I’ve seen little to none.
Hutchings works as an analyst at League Two club Stevenage, who play at the Lamex Stadium
‘I do think that things will begin to change when a professional player comes out but until then we’re almost stuck in a kind of limbo.
‘I’m sure this message won’t go very far or have much impact but even if it helps one person within football/sport with their sexuality, in even the smallest way, then it would have been worth it.
‘Another reason why I’m doing this is I think the weight of it on my shoulders this whole time might have affected my performance at work and that kills me because all I want to do is win 3 points on a Saturday and although my part in doing that is small, any way of me improving myself at my job has to be a good thing.
‘Just one more thing as an aside, if you think about it, this whole ‘coming out’ thing is a load of b*******. I mean, who cares, right?
Hutchings said he hoped his comments would help others in football and sport to have the confidence to reveal their true sexuality
‘But with the way things are currently, this needs to be done. Things need to change and it won’t change until people bite the bullet and do this sort of thing.
‘So there we are. Thanks for reading.’
Hutchings received a flood of supportive messages on Twitter after he put out the post on Wednesday morning.
It came as Evra, in an interview with French publication Le Parisien to coincide with the release of his autobiography, made some stunning revelations about some of the views he encountered.
‘When I was in England, they brought someone to talk to the team about homosexuality,’ Evra explained.
‘Some of my colleagues said “it is against my religion, if there is a homosexual in this locker room, let him leave the club” and other comments.
‘At that time, I said, “shut up”. I played with players who were gay. Face to face, they opened up with me because they are afraid to speak otherwise.
‘There are at least two players per club who are gay. But in the world of football, if you say so, it’s over.’
Patrice Evra claims he encountered shocking attitudes to homosexuality among footballers
Frenchman Evra played for Manchester United for seven years, from 2006 up until 2014 – there is no suggestion any of the players pictured made the remarks in question
Evra didn’t clarify which English club he was playing for when the incident in question happened.
He played for Manchester United from 2006 until 2014 before leaving for Juventus. He returned to England and the Premier League in 2018, making a handful of appearances for West Ham before leaving in 2019.
He represented other major European sides such as Italian giants Juve and French clubs Nice, Monaco and Marseille in his playing career. He also won 81 caps for France.
There are no openly gay footballers in the Premier League but clubs have worked to promote inclusivity with gestures such as the rainbow laces campaign.
Evra also returned to the Premier League with West Ham from 2018 until 2019
It has received widespread acclaim across the league, including from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who explained how the initiative raised his level of awareness before his side’s match with Southampton in November on the rainbow laces weekend.
‘I’m a perfect example for it – how the awareness level changes,’ Klopp said. ‘I’m 54, I’ve been through a lot of periods in my life but a lot of problems I’ve never had.
‘I have so many gay friends but I never thought about how it was when they had to say, ‘by the way, mum, dad’ – and to everyone else – ‘I’m not exactly how you expected, maybe’.
“That’s a challenge we shouldn’t face, in the way we face it in our life. So I’m completely in. It’s a great campaign, I have to say, and it looks good!”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has spoken out in support of the rainbow laces campaign
The initiative saw players wear rainbow laces on their shoes as well as captains such as Bruno Fernandes (above) wearing rainbow armbands for a round of matches in November
Cavallo earlier this week called out homophobic abuse from the crowd in a game he was playing in against Melbourne Victory.
The day after the match, the 22-year-old took to Instagram to say: ‘I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night.
‘There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was. This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold people accountable.
‘I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.’
Openly gay footballer Josh Cavallo, who plays for Australian side Adelaide United, called out homophobic abuse that was directed at him earlier this week
Cavallo took to Instagram and called out crowd abuse after a draw with Melbourne Victory