Zander Murray, Tracy Brown, Man Utd and Gender Goals among winners at fabulous FvH Awards

  • Impactful work on educating young people, improving fan experience and trans inclusion highlighted at fifth annual ceremony
  • Proud Baggies make it a hat-trick and Stargazy FC also successful on LGBTQ+ football’s biggest night of the year
  • FvH campaign director Lou Englefield says event at Manchester’s National Football Museum was “a joyful celebration of resistance”

View all the photos here! Thank you to our event photographer, Gordon Marino (please credit if using)

By Jon Holmes


Angharad Englefield Nelson, Jen Watts, Barb, Lou Englefield and Annette Nelson at the 2024 Football v Homophobia Awards. All photography by Gordon Marino


Advocacy, activism and allyship were all to the fore as attendees at the fifth annual Football v Homophobia Awards showed their appreciation for the year’s high achievers in LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Some of those on stage during the gala night shared personal experiences, while others demanded political change.

Collectively, the mood was triumphant and reflected the strong sense of community at a time when reports of discrimination in the game have been rising.

With around 150 guests at Manchester’s National Football Museum, welcomed by the glamorous Barb in her sparkly FvH-themed drag, the evening was fired up right from the off with sensational singer Jessica B aka ‘Little Miss Dynamite’ providing the entertainment.

BBC Radio Manchester’s Mike Minay was once again our marvellous emcee – leaning unapologetically towards MCFC in his allegiances, but always in a spirit of fun – guiding guests through an action-packed ceremony.

Lou Englefield, campaign director, said: “During a year in which we’ve seen a rise in reports of homophobia and transphobia in football, and ubiquitous online abuse, the FvH 2024 Awards were a joyful celebration of resistance; a testament to allyship and good practice; and a determination that football is for everyone.”

After giving a recap of FvH’s busy last year, there was an early surprise in store for Englefield as the Professional Footballers’ Association chose her to receive its Outstanding Contribution honour.

The PFA’s director of ED&I, Simone Pound, made the presentation, recognising Englefield’s dedicated work alongside the union and in the wider game.


Lou Englefield speaks after receiving an Outstanding Contribution Award from The PFA


The first of the category prizes was the Fare-sponsored International Award, with the John Blankenstein Foundation from the Netherlands named winners.

President and founder Karin Blankenstein was joined by colleagues on stage to accept the trophy from Fare’s Piara Powar; she said the success would fuel the organisation’s ongoing fight for equality in its 16th year.

Two forward-thinking clubs from France and the USA – Paris Arc-en-Ciel and Union Omaha – were placed second and third.



For more background on all the shortlisted entrants in each category, read our article here

There was hometown glory for the Manchester United FC contingent as they lifted the Professional Club Award first-place trophy, in a week when the Reds have been showing ‘One Love’ towards fan group Rainbow Devils across MUTV and social media.

United’s Premier League rivals Arsenal were runners-up, with Exeter City’s exceptional work in League One recognised in the category sponsored by the EFL, whose inclusion co-ordinator Soni Hussain handed over the awards.


Manchester United’s director of fan engagement Rick McGagh (right) led the Premier League club’s delegation at the awards


Tony Burnett (left) with Proud Baggies

Having collected on behalf of Arsenal, there was a swift return to the stage for GayGooners co-chair Carl Fearn with a silver medal in the Supporters’ Group category.

Bronze went to Rainbow Blades, the Sheffield United group, which meant a third win in five years for Proud Baggies.

Having received the trophy from Kick It Out CEO Tony Burnett, the West Brom fan group’s founder and chair Piero Zizzi thanked all those who had helped to make ‘Proud Baggies FC’ – a start-up inclusive team project – a reality in 2023.

The Women’s Game Award, sponsored by Sky Sports, went to the Alternative Football League, which has achieved remarkable growth in the north-west of England.

Last year’s category winners Brighton Seagals FC were second this time around.

Jasmine Angove took third, and was soon back on stage, as the club she founded in 2023 for trans and non-binary people – Gender Goals – won the FvH Scotland category, ahead of STV journalist Ronnie Charters and the group for LGBTQ+ Rangers fans and their allies, Ibrox Pride.


Glasgow-based Gender Goals were proud to be named winners of the FvH Scotland Award


Celebrating back-to-back County Football Association Award wins were Lincolnshire FA, whose media and marketing officer Zack Leader described how a significant number of LGBTQ+ people in the local area had started participating in sessions arranged with Lincoln United in the last year.

Norfolk County FA and Staffordshire FA were also commended on the shortlist for their inclusion work.



Charlotte Galloway and Ryan McGavock of Cardiff Dragons

There was a change around in the FvH Cymru category as 2023 winner Brandon Gregory swapped places with Cardiff Dragons FC, the club where he is player-manager, and who were placed third last time.

Accepting the award for the Dragons, women and non-binary team manager Ryan McGavock described the pivotal role that the club plays for so many in the local LGBTQ+ community.

Conwy Borough FC, who play in the third-tier Ardal NW, were in second place.

The National League’s runaway leaders Chesterfield claimed the Non-League Club Award, having given spirited support to new LGBTQ+ fans group Rainbow Spireites, who collected the trophy.

Three-in-a-row shortlistees Dulwich Hamlet took silver, and York City bagged bronze.

For the third consecutive year, all the clubs vying for the Wythenshawe Forum Trust and Manchester Active-sponsored Grassroots Club Award had never previously been shortlisted in this highly competitive category.

Brighton Seagals came third, and Glasgow Saints second, leaving Stargazy FC to take top spot less than 12 months after being founded.

The Cornish club’s story is very special and it just so happened to be told by player and BBC journalist Jack Murley on the flagship Football Focus programme the very next day.



Adam Crafton and Jacob Leeks

The Football Writers’ Association were sponsoring the Football Media Award, which recognises LGBTQ+-inclusive reporting that contributes positively to the community in the game.

BBC Sport’s Emma Smith, STV’s Ronnie Charters and Mirror Football’s Jacob Leeks were the 3-2-1 on the podium, giving the latter consecutive wins.

Making the presentation was FWA national committee member Adam Crafton, whose reporting for The Athletic earned him a spot on the FvH Hero shortlist two years ago. 

This prestigious category recognises individuals who have gone above and beyond to make all LGBTQ+ people and allies feel welcome in football.

Rainbow Devils founder and Stonewall FC first-team manager Eric Najib and Rainbow Blades founder James Laley were both highly commended by the judges.

The winner was Chelsea Pride chair Tracy Brown, whose achievements as an anti-discrimination campaigner have been genuinely game-changing – and her fight continues for a friendlier fan experience free of abuse and hate.


Tracy Brown holds the FvH Hero trophy having received the award from last year’s winner, Charlotte Galloway


There was one more person left to honour on the night, with footballer Zander Murray called to the stage to receive an Outstanding Contribution Award.

In association with PFA Scotland, with a presentation made by the striker’s friend Lloyd Wilson and after video tributes were played out from national women’s team captain Rachel Corsie and TIE campaign’s Liam Stevenson, an emotional Murray spoke of his deep gratitude to the community for giving him the energy to educate others following his personal coming out experience in September 2022.



There was a standing ovation for Murray, and another for the night’s closing speaker – Football v Transphobia campaign lead Natalie Washington, who urged the room to make space and provide a platform for trans and non-binary people at a time of heightening discrimination.

The annual FvT Week of Action will be held in late March.

After Mike Minay led the thank yous to sponsors and supporters, and DJ Charms pumped up the volume, the fifth FvH Awards bash entered the history books.


AF League co-founder Beth Barnes, with the Women’s Game Award trophy, speaks to category sponsor Sky Sports


This edition reflected the prevailing mood in the room – a sense of frustration at how football is increasingly being misused by some to tilt society towards division, but also the strong belief that the game in its truest form is ultimately the greatest of unifiers.

The LGBTQ+ football family is never daunted. From the rapid rise of Gender Goals and Stargazy FC, to the staying power shown by GayGooners and the John Blankenstein Foundation, themes of resourcefulness and resilience ran throughout the ceremony.

In what is an election year, we can say with certainty that all those who decided to nominate in the FvH Awards 2024, and show their appreciation, really did make a difference.



Special thanks to our amazing sponsors and supporters – the EFL, Fare, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the Football Writers’ Association, Sky Sports, Wythenshawe Forum Trust, Manchester Active, the Football Supporters’ Association, Kick It Out and the Fans for Diversity initiative.


The annual FvH Month of Action continues until the end of February – and from March 24 to 31, it’s the Week of Action for Football v Transphobia.

This article was produced by Sports Media LGBT+, a network, advocacy, and consultancy group that is helping to build a community of LGBTQ+ people and allies in sport.

Sports Media LGBT+ is also a digital publisher. Learn more about us here.