Anton Hysén plays for the lower leagues of Swedish football, but he has made headlines around the world after coming out as gay earlier this month. Two weeks later, the subject is still a talking point.
There’s a wonderfully positive article in today’s Daily Mail, of all places (as usual, ignore the comments). I love this little nugget of information:-
He was born in Liverpool during his dad’s time at the club and is still an obsessive fan, bellowing out You’ll Never Walk Alone in tiny clubhouse showers, emerging with a Liverpool towel and speaking of his admiration for Steven Gerrard.
There’s also a brief piece on Hysén over on the BBC Sport blog, accompanied by a good, frank report where he talks about the response — generally, positive attention from all over the world, marred by the odd piece of hate mail. He seems determined to treat the whole thing as no big deal, which it shouldn’t be, really. Overall, he seems remarkably happy with his position in life.
Mind you, I would be happy too if I was standing next to this man:-
The main theme of a lot of the articles I’ve read is: when will a British player follow suit? It’s difficult to know what the reaction would be – the Guardian’s secret footballer believes that fan abuse would still be rife. On the other hand, the Professional Footballers Association has pledged to support any players who do take this big step.
It will be a brave man who decides to be the first. However, the fact that people are talking about it openly means that the taboo has been slightly broken, meaning it is much more likely that we will see a gay footballer in the English leagues within the next few years. And in a world where football players are idolised by millions, hopefully he can be a much needed positive role model.