The Lancashire & Cheshire AFL is proud that Village Manchester FC have won the national Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) Cup for a record third time, beating Millwall Romans 3-1 on penalties after a dramatic 3-3 draw in normal time.
Both sides went into the game, which was meant to take place in May 2020 but was delayed due to Covid, looking to triumph in the GFSN Cup for a third time, so the stakes were high in the encounter held in Birmingham.
GFSN Chair Mike Kalogerou, who plays for the Leicester Wildecats inclusive team beaten by Village Manchester in the first round, said: “The GFSN has provided a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to support, campaign and play football in a safe and encouraging arena for over 30 years. The final was an example of two honest teams battling out to be this year’s cup winners. It was an enthralling match which Manchester edged after a penalty shootout.
“We would like to thank both teams for playing the game in a fantastic spirit and to Millwall Romans who showed fantastic dignity in defeat. Both teams have raised the bar again with respect to the quality of football on show that afternoon.”
Village Manchester FC was formed 25 years ago to give gay and bi men a safe, welcoming space to play and support football. Over the years, the club has grown and developed, and now has five teams, a number of trans players in addition to players of every sexuality and race, and an increasing number of straight players attracted by the club’s ethos of inclusivity.
VMFC Chair James Cole said “I am absolutely delighted that in our 25th anniversary year, and after much delay, Village Manchester Football Club is once again the national GFSN Cup champions. I would like to congratulate the team’s manager Jay McNaught. It’s a huge achievement for him, having managed our previous GFSN Cup winning squad three years ago.
“The club is based at Trinity Sports Centre near Manchester University, not far from the Gay Village, from where it gets its name. New players are always welcome, and with five teams there is a wide range of ability.”
James continued: “We always want to hear from more players in the LGBTQ+ community who want to join us, whether because they feel uncomfortable in their current team or because they’ve never even dared try to play the sport they love because of their fears of discrimination. We offer a welcoming atmosphere to queer players and straight allies alike.”
Full information on joining Village Manchester FC can be found at www.vmfc.co.uk/new.
L & C Diversity Officer Rob Brown said: “This is brilliant news and I give my congratulations to Village for their success.”
L & C chairman Mike Yates added: “The Village teams are a credit to the league and this victory is well deserved for their superb organisation and quality of play.”