A Championship footballer has come out as gay, making him the first current professional footballer in Britain to do so.
Blackpool forward Jake Daniels, seventeen, said he has received ‘amazing support’ from his teammates after opening up about his sexuality.
In an interview with Sky Sports News today, Daniels said his original plan was to wait until he had retired before coming out, but says he felt ready to ‘be myself’ after ‘such a long time of lying’ about who he is.
He said: “But I just knew that was just such a long time of just lying and not being able to have what I want.
“For a long time I’ve thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be, and now I am, a professional footballer. I asked myself if I should wait until I’ve retired to come out. No other player in the professional game here is out.
“However, I knew that would lead to a long time of lying and not being able to be myself or lead the life that I want to.
“Since I’ve come out to my family, my club and my teammates, that period of overthinking everything and the stress it created has gone. It was impacting my mental health.
“Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally.”
Daniels said he knew he was gay at around the age of five or six, but admitted that he initially believed football and being gay didn’t mix.
He explained: “So all the way through my life I was like, ‘It’s fine, you’ll get a girlfriend when you’re older and you’ll change and it’ll be fine’.
“And as you do get older you realise you just can’t… and it’s just something you won’t be able to do.
“I’ve had girlfriends in the past to try and make all my mates think I’m straight, and it was just a massive cover-up. So it has been a struggle.”
And speaking of when he first told his teammates, Daniels said they were ‘kind of shocked in a way’ and asked why he didn’t tell them earlier.
He said: “The captain was one of the main people I told and he was just asking loads of questions about it and was like ‘I’m so proud of you’.”
He added: “Everyone has been so supportive and so proud of me and it just shows what a bond we have as a team and everyone is like a family to each other.”
Daniels is the first British male professional footballer to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.
Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzelsperger also came out as gay after his retirement in 2013.
16-year-old darts sensation confident he can win World Darts Championship
He will play in the semi-final against Rob Cross later
A teenage darts player has said it will ‘take a lot to stop’ him as he sets his sights on winning the World Darts Championship.
Luke Littler has been playing darts since he was just a toddler as he started out using a magnetic board.
The 16-year-old has been wowing audiences as they’ve watched him rise up the ranks with an incredible run in the World Darts Championship.
And with each passing set, Littler believes he has what it takes to win the tournament to become champion.
He’s now just two victories away from winning after his debut at the huge event.
After sweeping past Brendan Dolan to set up a semi-final against Rob Cross on Tuesday 2nd, he will play for a place in the final, held at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday night.
“It’s going to take a lot to stop me,” he told the BBC. “It feels unbelievable. I never thought I would have got to the semis on my debut year.
“It’s crazy watching myself at 18 months or two years old in a nappy, but it has all paid off.
“One day we went to a shop with my parents and I pointed to a magnetic dartboard because they look similar. The rest is history.”
Littler has got the darts world talking as he became the youngest player to win a match in the tournament as crowds taunted him with, ‘you’ve got school in the morning,’ during his first-round win against Christian Kist on December 20th.
Less than two weeks later he has banked £100,000 in prize money and is being asked for selfies with fans everywhere he goes, while getting to watch Premier League football matches sat in executive boxes.
“I’ve been to an Arsenal game, I went to a Tottenham game – people come up to me. I don’t know who these people are but they know me,” he said.
“It is a good feeling and I will always take a picture with anyone. I was in (Tottenham midfielder) James Maddison’s box.
“It was good to meet him, get a few pictures and meet his family. It was really nice.”
Standing between Littler and a place in the final is Cross, who is number eight in the world.
Cross made history himself after becoming the first player to fight back from 4-0 to beat Chris Dobey 5-4 in his quarter-final.
Cross won the World Championship on his debut back in 2018 and thinks Littler has a similar kind of momentum behind him as he did.
Cross said: “Everyone loves an underdog story. It took a bit of pressure off me winning it first time as well.
“He’s fantastic and he deserves all the luck in the world – he is a nice young boy. Tomorrow we play darts, though, and I have to go down to business.”
The other semi-final taking place is an all-England match also, which will see Scott Williams face third seed Luke Humphries.
Williams shocked Dutchman and three-time winner Michael van Gerwen 5-3 as he made it to the last four for the first time in just his second appearance at the World Championships.
Humphries, who won three major titles in 2023 and is the highest-ranked player left in the competition, is also in the last four who will play for a place in the finals at Alexandra Palace after he beat Dave Chisnall 5-1. It will be his first final.
Man United’s Mary Earps named Women’s Footballer of the Year 2023
England and Manchester United goalkeeper Mary Earps has been named the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year.
Earps, 30, made history as the first goalkeeper to receive the award.
Speaking to BBC Sport, she said: “I am truly honoured. To be the first keeper to get their hands on the award is truly special and I am incredibly grateful.”
Fans voted on the BBC Sport website after five players were shortlisted for the award. A panel of experts made up of journalists, administrators, players and coaches from around the world chose Earps as one of those shortlisted.
Rumours were already circulating online that the Lioness goalie stood a good chance of winning the award after a stellar year playing for club and country.
She kept 14 clean sheets for Man United during the season 2022-23 – a WSL record – which earned the club their highest finish in the league, in second place.
Earps won the Golden Glove as England made it to the World Cup Final in August this year, though the Lionesses lost 1-0 to Spain despite Earps saving a second-half penalty. She also came fifth place in the Ballon d’Or.
In second place for the Footballer of the Year Award came Spain midfielder Aitana Bonmati, followed by Chelsea forward Sam Kerr, in third place.
Earps has also been making an impact off the pitch as well as on. This year she called out England’s kit manufacturer Nike for not producing replicas of her shirt for fans and aspiring female footballers to be able to buy.
In her speech, Earps continued: “To be honest, I thought Bonmati might take it. I mean, what a player.
“There has been a lot that has happened this year. Obviously, we’ve had the World Cup. We’ve had everything that’s gone on with the goalkeeper shirts.
“I’ve had the whole goalkeeper union behind me, it seemed like. Not even just that, just incredible support from the public and many people.
“Last year was an incredible season for United. I think it’s been an incredible year, an incredible couple of years. I’m just trying to make the most of everything really.”
Two months after the World Cup had concluded, Nike produced the replica shirts and put them on sale. Within hours they sold out prompting Earps to thank her fans for all their support over social media.
England boss Sarina Wiegman congratulated Earps winning the award in a video, saying: “Hi Mary, here I go again. I can congratulate you again with the award for women’s world footballer of the year.
“Congratulations, but you’re not done yet. You have to keep going – get some more. Enjoy this award.”
After a two-year absence from the sport between November 2019 and September 2021, Earps considered retiring from football. But instead she has gone on to prove herself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
She added: “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, the sort of things I went through, but I try to use my story as a beacon of hope for people – to show that there are better days coming.
“You just have to keep going and keep fighting. That looks very different to different people – everyone has their own battles and their own stories.
“I think what is incredible is how many people have reached out to me and shared their own stories through that. It’s been really great. Long may it continue.”
Manchester City announce new six-part documentary following historic treble win
You can follow the Blues through their journey to winning the treble
Treble winners Manchester City have announced a new six-part documentary chronicling their three-cup victories.
City fans will be able to relive their team through their epic season of 2022/23 which saw them take home the treble, marking a historic achievement for the club.
Following the last documentary for Amazon Prime All or Nothing, the Blue’s new documentary will be called Together: Treble Winners, and will document behind the scenes footage of how events unfolded leading to City successfully achieving ‘football immortality by winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup’.
The Manchester City website reads: “It [The treble] was a truly historic achievement and to celebrate, our acclaimed fly-on-the-wall documentary Together is returning to provide an exclusive look behind the scenes of our Treble-winning campaign.
“The six-part docuseries, currently in production, will offer fans the complete inside story of City’s greatest-ever season, with unseen footage charting the immersive journey our players and staff experienced en route to securing football’s Holy Grail.
“This is the story of a season like no other, as City once again stunned the world with the brilliance of our football.”
This statement might not go down so well with United fans who won the treble back in 1998/99 and may argue that theirs was ‘a season like no other’.
Either way, football fans who appreciate the game generally can simply watch the docuseries and get to find out what Pep said to players in team talks and all the dressing room antics that went on between teammates and backroom staff.
As for its release date and further details we will have to be patient just a little longer as Man City have only announced the new in-house production by City Studios will be ‘coming soon’, and that it is currently still in the production process.
What will the club have in-store for next season, which starts tomorrow, Friday August 11th?
Perhaps the ambitious bunch will take home all four trophies and win a quadruple? It’s a crazy thought but perhaps the Blues might be the ones to do it.
Let’s see how this season plays out…