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Gay Football Supporters Network

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The Gay Football Supporters Network ("GFSN") is a U.K. non-profit organisation founded in early 1989 by a small group of football fans who happened to be gay. This group went on to campaign for the view that homosexuality did not preclude an active interest in and support for the game.

History And Set-UpEdit

The Gay Football Supporters Network began meeting at the Salmon & Compasses public house in Chapel Market, North London; it later expanded into a truly national organisation. The GFSN divides the country up into "regions", with each region having a coordinator. This co-ordinator is responsible for arranging social events for members in that region, and members regularly meet to attend matches or simply watch a game at a local pub.

Football fans of different ages and genders meet regularly to discuss their favourite sport and chat. Each co-ordinator submits a monthly report on activities & social events, and these reports are then included in the network's monthly newsletter, which is posted to members.

CampaigningEdit

As well as providing a forum for gay football supporters to meet, the GFSN also campaigns against anti-homosexual discrimination in support of the FA's "Football For All" programme. The FA encourages all clubs to endorse a gay-tolerant position, parallelling similar calls in the 1980s for clubs to support racial tolerance.

A monthly GFSN newsletter regularly features articles taken from the national press relating to the topic. The network has also featured in articles printed in The Independent, AXM and The Times.

PlayingEdit

Some members prefer to play rather as well as watch, and around the country new football clubs have emerged as members come together to play. The two longest established teams still in existence are Leicester Wildecats FC and Village Manchester FC; both formed in 1996.

GFSN LeagueEdit

Main article: GFSN National League

Rivalries formed between a number of the members and their clubs, leading to the formation of the GFSN National 11-a-side League in 2002.

Four clubs initially entered the league; Bristol Panthers F.C, Leftfooters F.C, Yorkshire Terriers F.C. and Leicester Wildecats F.C. The inaugural winners of this competition were the now-defunct Bristol Panthers.

The current champions are London Falcons FC, who won the title on Sunday 27th April 2008 ahead of Leicester Wildecats in second place.

TournamentsEdit

5-a-side tournaments are hosted by clubs across the country, which are extremely popular events for teams and players to meet-up and socialise. Leicester Wildecats and Yorkshire Terriers have held a 5-a-side tournament for the last 10 years. Bristol Panthers also held a tournament until their demise.

Leftfooters FC host an annual 11-a-side tournament in April at Regent's Park, which is also open to inclusion from European teams. Recently, teams from France and Denmark have taken part.

Falcons FC are organising the Pride London 6-a-side tournament on Saturday 23rd June 2007, which will include teams from across the UK. The competition winners will be presented with their trophy on the main stage in Trafalgar square on the day of London Pride.

GFSN National TournamentEdit

Coinciding with the GFSN Annual General Meeting of members, a 5-a-side tournament is held with almost all the UK's gay teams taking part over a weekend in early June. It is widely accepted to be the biggest and most anticipated event organised by the GFSN, enabling players and members to socialise over the weekend. A "host" city is chosen each year - voted for by GFSN members throughout the preceding autumn. The result is announced at the annual GFSN Christmas Dinner.

The tournament was dominated by the Leicester Wildecats for the first 6 years, but has since been claimed by Brighton Bandits and Yorkshire Terriers, who successfully defended their title in 2006. In 2005, the competition format was altered slightly. All teams initially compete together in a group stage, with the winners progressing to the knock-out phase of the main trophy. Teams that are knocked out of the main competition then transfer to the "Vase" trophy - a less prestigious (yet equally competitive) knock-out competition, with the winner claiming a trophy that is usually a cheap, rusting item bought from a local bric-a-brac store (to emphasise the lack of grandeur compared with the main tournament).

This change was introduced to give competing teams more opportunity to play football, instead of being knocked out early on in the tournament after a short number of games.

Year Venue Winners Vase Winners
1998 Template:Country data ENG Blackpool, UK Leicester Wildecats
1999 Template:Country data ENG Brighton, UK Leicester Wildecats
2000 Template:Country data ENG Manchester, UK Leicester Wildecats
2001 Template:Country data ENG Brighton, UK Leicester Wildecats
2002 Template:Country data ENG Birmingham, UK Leicester Wildecats
2003 Template:Country data WAL Cardiff, UK Leicester Wildecats
2004 Template:Country data ENG Blackpool, UK Brighton Bandits
2005 Template:Country data SCO Glasgow, UK Yorkshire Terriers Leftfooters FC
2006 Template:Country data ENG Newcastle, UK Yorkshire Terriers Leicester Wildecats
2007 File:Flag of Ireland.svg Dublin, Ireland Dublin Devils Yorkshire Terriers
2008 Template:Country data ENG Liverpool, UK Nottingham Ballbois [not staged]
The GFSN Vase trophy was introduced for the 2005 competition.

Lust ListEdit

Every year since 2000, the network has published an annual "Lust List", which is a poll of GFSN members. Members vote on a number of categories, including "Sexiest Team", "Best Manager" and "Hate Figure". The most hotly contested category is for the "Sexiest Player". Once all the votes have been counted, a Top Ten in each cateogory is announced on the network's website.

Lust List Press CoverageEdit

The Daily Star newspaper picked up on the annual 'Lust List', and ran a front page headline on July 27 2005, entitled: "Rear We Go" and "Match Of The Gay"[1]. The article incorrectly proclaimed Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard as the winner of the "Sexiest Player" category, however the true winner of the competition was Brighton & Hove Albion's little-known striker Jake Robinson[2]. Gerrard actually finished runner-up.

Previous "Sexiest Player" WinnersEdit

Year Winner Team*
2000 Template:Country data ENG Michael Owen Template:Country data ENG Liverpool
2001 Template:Country data ENG David Beckham Template:Country data ENG Manchester United
2002 Template:Country data ENG Michael Owen Template:Country data ENG Liverpool
2003 Template:Country data ENG James Beattie Template:Country data ENG Southampton
2004 Flag of France Thierry Henry Template:Country data ENG Arsenal
2005 Template:Country data ENG Jake Robinson Template:Country data ENG Brighton
2006 Template:Country data ENG Steven Gerrard Template:Country data ENG Liverpool
*The team the player played for at the time of award

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