Le Saux backing for Hitzlsperger

Graeme Le Saux

Graeme Le Saux

First published in Sport
Last updated

Ex-Saint Graeme Le Saux has welcomed Thomas Hitzlsperger’s decision to reveal he is gay but insists there should be no pressure on footballers to come out while they are still playing.

Le Saux, a member of the FA’s new Inclusion Advisory Board (IAB), had his life made a misery by abuse from players and fans during the 1990s even though he is not gay.

Hitzlsperger, the former Germany midfielder who played for Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham, waited until he had retired before making his announcement and Le Saux said that should be respected.

He told Press Association Sport: “Things have changed dramatically since I was playing, football is much more open-minded and international.

“Thomas didn’t feel it was right and I respect that, and I don’t think we should expect players to be that open if they think it is going to put undue pressure on them.

“What would be a shame is if there was a young gay man who was a talented footballer who turned his back on the sport because he thinks football won’t accept him.”

Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler has recently apologised to Le Saux for an infamous incident in 1997, but other players named by Le Saux in his 2007 autobiography have not followed suit.

Le Saux added: “I have had contact with Robbie Fowler who has had time to reflect and who made an effort to contact me and apologise.

“I would always accept an apology and then move on.

“All of us make mistakes in life, as I have, and it’s important we take responsibility for this.”

Le Saux believes he was subjected to bullying from other players and staff after joining Chelsea because he was “different” - he came from Jersey, “dressed like a student and read The Guardian newspaper”.

Hitzlsperger believes gay male footballers are living in fear of the repercussions they could face if they come out.

There are many openly gay players in the women’s game, including England captain Casey Stoney, but none active at a high level in men’s football.

Hitzlsperger wrote on his website: “Homosexuality is simply ignored in football.

“The media, on the other hand, have been interested in the subject for years. It’s just that the players concerned have not dared to declare their inclinations because the world of football still sees itself to some extent as a macho environment.”

Premier League managers have praised Hitzlsperger’s decision.

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet said: “I am really proud of him coming out and saying it. I think society has changed a lot, and that will help a few players to come out and I think it will happen more and more often, so credit to him.”

Hull manager Steve Bruce added: “It’s very, very brave of him. It mustn’t have been easy to make that decision.

“I’m sure there are gay footballers, same as there are gay barmen or gay actors. Fair play to the lad, he’s come out and been as honest has he can be.”

Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis said: “If people do come out they’ll be protected and they’ll be respected. I think that’s the great thing about this country.

“The greatest thing about our society is that we are an open society.

“We welcome everything, every extreme, every different avenue. We’re not a country that is subversive in any way, shape or form.

“Whether it’s colour, creed, religion, whatever, I think this is the greatest country in the world for that.”

Comments (6)

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7:50am Fri 10 Jan 14

Wayne marchant says...

I'm sorry but only brain washed idiots read the fluffy land Guardian where we all dance and sing in unison on the streets and paedo gangs up and down the country are just in peoples imaginations.
I'm sorry but only brain washed idiots read the fluffy land Guardian where we all dance and sing in unison on the streets and paedo gangs up and down the country are just in peoples imaginations. Wayne marchant
  • Score: -10

8:26am Fri 10 Jan 14

SiamSaint says...

Wayne marchant wrote:
I'm sorry but only brain washed idiots read the fluffy land Guardian where we all dance and sing in unison on the streets and paedo gangs up and down the country are just in peoples imaginations.
That means I am a brain-washed idiot. Hope my bosses don't find out. They'd have to take back the 150K a year they pay me. OK, I said it! I am a Guardian Reader!
[quote][p][bold]Wayne marchant[/bold] wrote: I'm sorry but only brain washed idiots read the fluffy land Guardian where we all dance and sing in unison on the streets and paedo gangs up and down the country are just in peoples imaginations.[/p][/quote]That means I am a brain-washed idiot. Hope my bosses don't find out. They'd have to take back the 150K a year they pay me. OK, I said it! I am a Guardian Reader! SiamSaint
  • Score: 3

9:50am Fri 10 Jan 14

alidia says...

Wayne marchant wrote:
I'm sorry but only brain washed idiots read the fluffy land Guardian where we all dance and sing in unison on the streets and paedo gangs up and down the country are just in peoples imaginations.
'Paedo gangs up and down the country'? Blimey. How have I missed these ravaging hordes of child sex offenders on our streets? Last time I went to the supermarket everyone seemed pretty normal but now I realise they were all on the lookout for a toddler

You're an idiot
[quote][p][bold]Wayne marchant[/bold] wrote: I'm sorry but only brain washed idiots read the fluffy land Guardian where we all dance and sing in unison on the streets and paedo gangs up and down the country are just in peoples imaginations.[/p][/quote]'Paedo gangs up and down the country'? Blimey. How have I missed these ravaging hordes of child sex offenders on our streets? Last time I went to the supermarket everyone seemed pretty normal but now I realise they were all on the lookout for a toddler You're an idiot alidia
  • Score: 4

11:35am Fri 10 Jan 14

Jesus_02 says...

Wayne marchant wrote:
I'm sorry but only brain washed idiots read the fluffy land Guardian where we all dance and sing in unison on the streets and paedo gangs up and down the country are just in peoples imaginations.
Troll
[quote][p][bold]Wayne marchant[/bold] wrote: I'm sorry but only brain washed idiots read the fluffy land Guardian where we all dance and sing in unison on the streets and paedo gangs up and down the country are just in peoples imaginations.[/p][/quote]Troll Jesus_02
  • Score: 3

11:35am Fri 10 Jan 14

Alicesdad says...

He reads the Guardian? Frankly that is so much worse than everything else that has been said about him ... and yet he makes no response. Curious !!

Using the daftest headlkine of the day from a a local newsrag

"Can you imagine Nicola doing this .... "
He reads the Guardian? Frankly that is so much worse than everything else that has been said about him ... and yet he makes no response. Curious !! Using the daftest headlkine of the day from a a local newsrag "Can you imagine Nicola doing this .... " Alicesdad
  • Score: 0

11:41am Fri 10 Jan 14

Jesus_02 says...

Personaly I think fans would be as likely to openly abuse a genuinely gay player as they would be to openly abuse a black player. It would undoubtably happen, but the player would then, undoubtably be supported by the vast majority that are right minded people.

“Homosexuality is simply ignored in football" - is in my view should be the case until someone recieves abuse
Personaly I think fans would be as likely to openly abuse a genuinely gay player as they would be to openly abuse a black player. It would undoubtably happen, but the player would then, undoubtably be supported by the vast majority that are right minded people. “Homosexuality is simply ignored in football" - is in my view should be the case until someone recieves abuse Jesus_02
  • Score: 1

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