Fans take to social media in their droves after Sky Sports pundits ditch Black Lives Matter badges


Football fans have taken to social media in their droves after Sky Sports and the Premier League began to distance themselves from the political activism of Black Lives Matters UK. 

Top-flight players have taken a knee before every match in Project Restart, with badges also worn on the shirt sleeves of all 20 clubs, but there has been plenty of controversy over the UK arm of the organisation.

Over the last few days, the official BLM UK Twitter account has caused controversy by calling for the overthrow of capitalism, reductions in police funding and an end to free trade with Israel.

Ten days ago Mr Redknapp did wear the BLM pin on his suit while appearing live on television

Jamie Redknapp (pictured left on Tuesday night) and Patrice Evra did not wear BLM badges on air for the Manchester United game. Ten days ago, Redknapp did wear the pin on his suit (right)

The pair's decision to not wear their Black Lives Matter badges hit the headlines on Tuesday

The pair’s decision to not wear their Black Lives Matter badges hit the headlines on Tuesday

Fans were quick to take to Twitter to give their thoughts on pundits' decision to snub BLM UK

Fans were quick to take to Twitter to give their thoughts on pundits’ decision to snub BLM UK

On Tuesday night, Patrice Evra, Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville had all ditched their Black Lives Matter badges during Sky’s coverage of Manchester United’s win over Brighton.

The decision came just hours after Matt Le Tissier, another of the channel’s top pundits, had exclusively told Sportsmail that he was asked by bosses to wear the Black Lives Matter badge, but stressed he ‘could not support’ the cause’s anti police and capitalist aims, while former Wolves midfielder Karl Henry had also slammed the organisation on Twitter.

Upon seeing that Sky’s top pundits had stopped wearing BLM badges on air, fans were quick to share their thoughts on Twitter, with one fan noting: ‘If only they’d done a little research like us peasants did before jumping in with both feet.’  

Another wrote: ‘Maybe research an organisation next time blokes before you support their “cause”‘, while someone else posted: ‘Slowly people are realising BLM  is an antisemitic, anarchistic anti white, anti law and order movement, and regretting their foolish support’.  

Matt Le Tissier says he will wear Black Lives Matter badges (circled) on Sky Sports but does not support their anti-capitalism and defund the police aims

Matt Le Tissier says he will wear Black Lives Matter badges (circled) on Sky Sports but does not support their anti-capitalism and defund the police aims

Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher is another pundit to wear the Black Lives Matter badge

Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher is another pundit to wear the Black Lives Matter badge

Twitter users urged Sky pundits to 'research an organisation before supporting their cause'

Twitter users urged Sky pundits to ‘research an organisation before supporting their cause’

Black Lives Matter want to bring to an end racial injustice and police brutality, but in recent weeks have called for a cut in money to law enforcement to create a ‘people’s budget’.

The UK arm of the group has said it wants to defund the police completely and abolish capitalism and has pledged support for Palestine amid Israel’s plans to annex the West Bank.

Le Tissier says that he agreed to wear the badge because he supported the cause, but pointed out the organisation did not have his backing.

Speaking outside his home near Southampton, he said: ‘I just don’t agree with some of the points of that movement – specifically the defunding of the police and the anti capitalist points are things I do not agree with.

Premier League players having been taking a knee before every match since the restart

Premier League players having been taking a knee before every match since the restart

On Sunday, BLM UK issued a barrage of tweets over Israel's proposed annexation of the West Bank and claimed 'mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism.'

On Sunday, BLM UK issued a barrage of tweets over Israel’s proposed annexation of the West Bank and claimed ‘mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism.’

The official Twitter account of the UK arm of BLM has caused plenty of controversy this week

The official Twitter account of the UK arm of BLM has caused plenty of controversy this week

Black Lives Matter: Group wants to abolish the police, smash capitalism and close all prisons

Black Lives Matter UK is the semi-official British offshoot of its American counterpart and has been the face of the UK’s protests over George Floyd’s death and racial equailty.

But while hundreds of thousands of people have donated millions to their cause, many will be unaware on many of the group’s more extreme aims.

The UK branch, just like the American arm of the movement, has a number of far-Left aims listed on its  wesbite.

They include the Marxist ‘commitment to dismantle capitalism’.

Elsewhere the group says it wants to use money it has raised to develop and deliver strategies ‘for the abolition of the police’.

The official Twitter account of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) UK movement has also been caught up in an antisemitism row.

It tweeted in support of Palestine over plans by Israel to annex its West Bank settlements.

The verified account claimed mainstream British politics were being ‘gagged of the right to critique Zionism,’ before Tweeting that the movement ‘loudly and clearly stands beside our Palestinian comrades’ and adding in block capitals ‘FREE PALESTINE’.

It sparked anger among the Jewish community, with some describing the idea of politicians being ‘gagged’ over their criticism of Zionism as being an ‘antisemitic trope’.

 The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said: ‘BLM should aspire to be a movement against racism that unifies people and achieves lasting change, not a movement that spreads hatred and achieves lasting division.

‘You cannot fight prejudice with prejudice.’ 

The group has been active online since mid-2016.

In December that year it endorsed the complete closure of all Britain’s prisons and detention centres, saying they were ‘inhumane, overcrowded and unsafe’.

The group has also expressed its opposition on Twitter to government initiatives including reform of the benefits system via the introduction of Universal Credit and the licensing of fracking. 

It has attacked everyone from Oxfam (‘big charities are nothing more than colonisers for the 21st century’) to Sir David Attenborough.

The group accused an episode of his 2018 TV series Dynasties, on chimpanzees, of being racist because the BBC naturalist complained that habitat destruction due to overpopulation was threatening the species with extinction.

‘Human activities can obviously compete with wildlife,’ the anomymous BLM Tweeter opined. ‘But ‘too many people’ always has a silent ‘black’.’

‘They are the two main points for me. I am quite happy for them to have their point of view, but that is mine and that is where I sit.

‘I think a lot of people in the country would agree with me. I will still wear the badge because I do of course believe black lives matter. It’s a simple thing.

‘I agree with the cause but there are parts of the organisation that I just cannot support.’

Elsewhere, the Premier League is also considering its own position amid rising controversy surrounding the UK wing of Black Lives Matter. 

While the players are still keen to endorse the sentiment behind the movement, Sportsmail exclusively revealed on Tuesday night that they are keen to distance themselves from the UK organisation, and a group of captains are considering whether to make a public statement on the matter. 

Fans also spoke out on this, with one fan writing: ‘I mean they have only realised this now… wow. Defunding police, ending capitalism, white people to pay reparations for history they weren’t even alive for.’ 

One other fan claimed: ‘The damage to their precious brand was done the minute they embarked on this road. Non-political my a***,’ while another Twitter user claimed that it was too late for players to go back: ‘Too late to have fears, they are now fully signed-up members, as are the Premier League and the FA.’   

On Tuesday, the Premier League said it recognised ‘the importance of the message that black lives matter’ but made clear that it ‘does not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.’

Until the Sky Sports presenters’ decided to stop wearing their badges, Le Tissier and former Wolves star Henry were the only high-profile voices in football to so far raise concerns about the UK arm of BLM, which has protested over the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in the US.   

Until the pair spoke out, the sport had completely embraced the movement, with players taking the knee before Premier League and Championship matches kicked off.

Presenters and guests on Sky Sports have worn BLM badges when appearing on programmes, but now Le Tissier says he has held talks with his bosses about this.

Meanwhile Henry has called for a ‘new inclusive and politically-neutral anti-racism movement’ after savaging the UK group online.

‘I think the majority of the UK have now had enough of that organisation,’ wrote Henry on Twitter. ‘A new inclusive and politically neutral anti-racism movement to follow and get behind is much needed. Black people’s lives matter! The divisive #BlackLivesMatter organisation, however, DOES NOT.’

The Premier League have not provided any funding to BLM UK and chief executive Richard Masters told MPs on Tuesday that his organisation remain apolitical.

Appearing before a select committee of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Masters attempted to draw a distinction between moral and political causes, although this position was criticised by Sunderland MP Julie Elliott, who accused him of ‘opening a can of worms’.

The Premier League and the FA prohibit participants in the game from making political statements, with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola fined two years ago by the latter for wearing a ribbon in support of Catalan independence.

Former Manchester United full back Patrice Evra also opted not to wear his badge this week

Former Manchester United full back Patrice Evra also opted not to wear his badge this week

Karl Henry spoke out against Black Lives Matter UK over their anti-capitalism and stance on trying to abolish the police (pictured here playing for Bolton in 2018)

Karl Henry spoke out against Black Lives Matter UK over their anti-capitalism and stance on trying to abolish the police (pictured here playing for Bolton in 2018)

Fans also responded to the news that Premier League players are now distancing themselves

Fans also responded to the news that Premier League players are now distancing themselves

Premier League stars hold fears over links to the official Black Lives Matter organisation


Premier League stars fearful of links to Black Lives Matter activists as captains consider making a public statement distancing themselves from UK wing of movement

  • There are concerns over the organisations ideology and political ambitions
  • Sportsmail can reveal the issue has been discussed by several top-flight players
  • A group of captains are considering whether to make a public statement  

Premier League players want to distance themselves from the official UK wing of the Black Lives Matter organisation amid concerns over its ideology and political ambitions.

Sportsmail can reveal that the issue has been discussed by several players, with the group of top-flight captains considering whether to make a public statement on the matter.

The players’ call to endorse the sentiment behind the Black Lives Matter movement – the need for action to ensure greater equality and an expression of solidarity with those who have suffered persecution because of their race – was instrumental in persuading the Premier League to make the campaign such a visible part of Project Restart.

Players want to distance themselves from the official Black Lives Matter organisation

Premier League stars donned 'Black Lives Matter' playing shirts when the top-flight resumed

Premier League stars donned ‘Black Lives Matter’ playing shirts when the top-flight resumed

Every game since the resumption has been prefaced by players and match officials taking a knee in tribute to George Floyd, while the partner of Watford captain Troy Deeney designed a BLM logo which features on the shirts of all 20 Premier League clubs.

While the players remain united in campaigning for equality and committed to maintaining such symbolic gestures for the remainder of the season, some are concerned about being associated with the political activism of Black Lives Matter UK. In the last few days, the official BLM UK Twitter account has caused controversy by calling for the overthrow of capitalism, reductions in police funding and an end to free trade with Israel.

Former Wolves midfielder Karl Henry criticised BLM UK on social media on Tuesday as a divisive organisation, while Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier said he would review his decision to wear a BLM badge in comments that have sparked a debate among players.

Karl Henry criticised BLM UK on social media on Tuesday - calling them a divisive organisation

Karl Henry criticised BLM UK on social media on Tuesday – calling them a divisive organisation

‘I think the majority of the UK have now had enough of that organisation,’ wrote Henry on Twitter. ‘A new inclusive and politically neutral anti-racism movement to follow and get behind is much needed. Black people’s lives matter! The divisive #BlackLivesMatter organisation, however, DOES NOT.’

The Premier League have not provided any funding to BLM UK and chief executive Richard Masters told MPs on Tuesday that his organisation remain apolitical.

Appearing before a select committee of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Masters attempted to draw a distinction between moral and political causes, although this position was criticised by Sunderland MP Julie Elliott, who accused him of ‘opening a can of worms’.

The Premier League and the FA prohibit participants in the game from making political statements, with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola fined two years ago by the latter for wearing a ribbon in support of Catalan independence.

Richard Masters told MPs on Tuesday that the Premier League remain apolitical

Richard Masters told MPs on Tuesday that the Premier League remain apolitical

‘I don’t think it sets any particular precedent,’ Masters insisted. ‘I think it’s perfectly possible to support Black Lives Matter without being seen to be supporting any political organisation.

‘We’re happy to support the players. We think it’s the right moment to do it and for the first time I feel that players, managers, Premier League and clubs are on the same page on the issue of discrimination. That feels like a positive step.

‘We’re drawing a clear distinction between a moral cause and a political movement.

‘While there may be some difficulty sometimes in dividing the two, our position is clear. Politics no, moral causes yes – when agreed. We’re living in special times at the moment.’

Premier League stars hold fears over links to the official Black Lives Matter organisation


Premier League players fearful of links to Black Lives Matter activists as captains consider making a public statement distancing themselves from the UK wing

  • There are concerns over the organisations ideology and political ambitions
  • Sportsmail can reveal the issue has been discussed by several top-flight players
  • A group of captains are considering whether to make a public statement  

Premier League players want to distance themselves from the official UK wing of the Black Lives Matter organisation amid concerns over its ideology and political ambitions.

Sportsmail can reveal that the issue has been discussed by several players, with the group of top-flight captains considering whether to make a public statement on the matter.

The players’ call to endorse the sentiment behind the Black Lives Matter movement — the need for action to ensure greater equality and an expression of solidarity with those who have suffered persecution because of their race — was instrumental in persuading the Premier League to make the campaign such a visible part of Project Restart.

Players want to distance themselves from the official Black Lives Matter organisation

Premier League stars donned 'Black Lives Matter' playing shirts when the top-flight resumed

Premier League stars donned ‘Black Lives Matter’ playing shirts when the top-flight resumed

Every game since the resumption has been prefaced by players and match officials taking a knee in tribute to George Floyd, while the partner of Watford captain Troy Deeney designed a BLM logo which features on the shirts of all 20 Premier League clubs.

While the players remain united in campaigning for equality and committed to maintaining such symbolic gestures for the remainder of the season, some are concerned about being associated with the political activism of Black Lives Matter UK. In the last few days, the official BLM UK Twitter account has caused controversy by calling for the overthrow of capitalism, reductions in police funding and an end to free trade with Israel.

Former Wolves midfielder Karl Henry criticised BLM UK on social media on Tuesday as a divisive organisation, while Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier said he would review his decision to wear a BLM badge in comments that have sparked a debate among players.

Karl Henry criticised BLM UK on social media on Tuesday - calling them a divisive organisation

Karl Henry criticised BLM UK on social media on Tuesday – calling them a divisive organisation

‘I think the majority of the UK have now had enough of that organisation,’ wrote Henry on Twitter. ‘A new inclusive and politically neutral anti-racism movement to follow and get behind is much needed. Black people’s lives matter! The divisive #BlackLivesMatter organisation, however, DOES NOT.’

The Premier League have not provided any funding to BLM UK and chief executive Richard Masters told MPs on Tuesday that his organisation remain apolitical.

Appearing before a select committee of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Masters attempted to draw a distinction between moral and political causes, although this position was criticised by Sunderland MP Julie Elliott, who accused him of ‘opening a can of worms’.

The Premier League and the FA prohibit participants in the game from making political statements, with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola fined two years ago by the latter for wearing a ribbon in support of Catalan independence.

Richard Masters told MPs on Tuesday that the Premier League remain apolitical

Richard Masters told MPs on Tuesday that the Premier League remain apolitical

‘I don’t think it sets any particular precedent,’ Masters insisted. ‘I think it’s perfectly possible to support Black Lives Matter without being seen to be supporting any political organisation.

‘We’re happy to support the players. We think it’s the right moment to do it and for the first time I feel that players, managers, Premier League and clubs are on the same page on the issue of discrimination. That feels like a positive step.

‘We’re drawing a clear distinction between a moral cause and a political movement.

‘While there may be some difficulty sometimes in dividing the two, our position is clear. Politics no, moral causes yes — when agreed. We’re living in special times at the moment.’

Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier says he will ‘review’ wearing a Black Lives Matter badge


Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier says he will ‘review’ whether to carry on wearing a Black Lives Matter badge on TV and will hold talks with his bosses because he does not want to promote a ‘far left ideology’

  • Matt Le Tissier has spoken to Sky Sports about Black Lives Matter badges
  • The pundit is said to be ‘reviewing’ wearing it over the movement’s policies   
  • It has adopted the slogan ‘defund the police’, which has caused controversy 

Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier says he is ‘reviewing’ the use of Black Lives Matter badges on the TV channel because he holds concerns over the movement’s ideologies.

Since the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in the United States last month there have been global protests about racism and racial discrimination, and the world of sport is now heavily involved in support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Presenters and guests on Sky Sports have been seen wearing Black Lives Matter badges when appearing on programmes, but now Le Tissier says he has held talks with his bosses about this.

Matt Le Tissier says he is reviewing the use of Black Lives Matter badges on Sky Sports 

The Southampton legend replied to a tweet accusing him of ‘promoting a far-left ideology and said he had spoken with officials about the matter.

Black Lives Matter encourage the slogan #DefundThePolice amid outcry over alleged violence by police towards black people, saying they ‘call for an end to the systemic racism that allows this culture of corruption to go unchecked and our lives to be taken’.

Le Tissier kicked off the debate by urging his followers to remove him on Twitter if they were from the ‘far right or far left’. 

The ex-Southampton star asked Twitter followers to remove him if they were far left or far right

The ex-Southampton star asked Twitter followers to remove him if they were far left or far right

‘Morning peeps, polite request, if you’re far right or far left do me and yourselves a favour and unfollow me, it’ll be good for yours and our mental health as I couldn’t give 2 hoots how many followers I have I won’t be offended.’ 

One Twitter user replied: ‘If you are central Matt why wear a badge promoting a far left ideology?’ 

The 51-year-old wrote back: ‘That’s a good point and one which I’ve made to my boss already.’

Another said: ‘Maybe you should review your BLM badge wearing’, to which he responded: ‘I am reviewing’.

Le Tissier said he was 'reviewing' his use of the Black Lives Matter badge on Sky Sports shows

Le Tissier said he was ‘reviewing’ his use of the Black Lives Matter badge on Sky Sports shows

There has been plenty of reaction and debate following Le Tissier’s tweet, with another user saying he ‘hated this badging of the left and right’. 

And one replied telling him ‘that BLM badge is a bit dodgy’.

Speaking about their views on the police on the Black Lives Matter website, the movement says Floyd’s death was a ‘breaking point’ and ‘a reminder that, for black people, law enforcement doesn’t protect or save our lives. They often threaten and take them’.

Instead, they have called for ‘a national defunding of police’, asking for ‘investment in our communities and the resources to ensure Black people not only survive, but thrive’.

Sky Sports said Le Tissier had approached them about wearing a Black Lives Matter badge ‘as a discussion point’ and the former midfielder was told he was not obligated to wear one.   

Former Liverpool defender stabbed while getting out of his car in Merseyside


Former Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom recovering in hospital after he was stabbed in Merseyside while ‘getting out of his car as he went to visit a relative just hours after playing in Derby’s victory over Reading’

  • Former Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom is in hospital after he was stabbed
  • It is claimed the Derby player was attacked and robbed as he got out of his car
  • The incident reportedly occurred hours after Wisdom played against Reading
  • Wisdom made his Liverpool debut in 2012 but left for Derby in 2017 

Former Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom is recovering in hospital after he was stabbed and robbed while visiting a relative on Merseyside.

According to The Sun, the Derby County player was ‘stabbed while getting out of his car’ in the Toxteth area of Merseyside.

His sister said: ‘He’s been stabbed and is in hospital. He’s stable and my other brother is on his way there. It’s crazy. I can’t believe it.’

Former Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom is in hospital after he was stabbed and robbed

It is claimed Wisdom was attacked while getting out of his car as he went to visit a relative

It is claimed Wisdom was attacked while getting out of his car as he went to visit a relative

Derby County told Sportsmail: ‘Derby County Football Club can confirm that Andre Wisdom has been the victim of an unprovoked assault and robbery.

‘He sustained injuries which resulted in him being admitted to hospital, where he is in a stable condition.

‘Merseyside police are investigating and the Club will focus its efforts on supporting Andre and his family. Therefore we will not be making any further comment at this time.’

It is claimed the incident occurred just hours after Wisdom played in Derby’s 2-1 Championship win over Reading on Saturday.

A source told The Sun: ‘It’s awful news. He must have been on a high after his team played so well. To then have something like this happen is just tragic. It was totally unprovoked. 

Wisdom made his Liverpool debut in 2012 before leaving the club for Derby permanently

Wisdom made his Liverpool debut in 2012 before leaving the club for Derby permanently

Wisdom has played over 100 times for Derby and is a key man in their promotion push

Wisdom has played over 100 times for Derby and is a key man in their promotion push

‘It’s impossible to imagine what his family must be going through.

‘All his fans wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully he’ll be back on the pitch again soon.’ 

Wisdom signed for Liverpool as a youngster and worked his way through the club’s youth system. He made his first-team debut in September 2012 in a Europa League game against Young Boys.

After falling out of favour at Anfield, Wisdom moved to Derby in 2017 and has played for the Rams ever since.

Wisdom has played over 100 times for Derby and is a key man in their hopes to reach the Premier League. They are just three points off the play-off places at present.  

Former Liverpool defender stabbed while getting out of his car in Merseyside


Former Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom recovering in hospital after he was stabbed in Merseyside while ‘getting out of his car as he went to visit a relative just hours after playing in Derby’s victory over Reading’

  • Former Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom is in hospital after he was stabbed
  • It is claimed the Derby player was attacked and robbed as he got out of his car
  • The incident reportedly occurred hours after Wisdom played against Reading
  • Wisdom made his Liverpool debut in 2012 but left for Derby in 2017 

Former Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom is recovering in hospital after he was stabbed and robbed while visiting a relative on Merseyside.

According to The Sun, the Derby County player was ‘stabbed while getting out of his car’ in the Toxteth area of Merseyside.

His sister said: ‘He’s been stabbed and is in hospital. He’s stable and my other brother is on his way there. It’s crazy. I can’t believe it.’

Former Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom is in hospital after he was stabbed and robbed

It is claimed Wisdom was attacked while getting out of his car as he went to visit a relative

It is claimed Wisdom was attacked while getting out of his car as he went to visit a relative

Derby County told Sportsmail: ‘Derby County Football Club can confirm that Andre Wisdom has been the victim of an unprovoked assault and robbery.

‘He sustained injuries which resulted in him being admitted to hospital, where he is in a stable condition.

‘Merseyside police are investigating and the Club will focus its efforts on supporting Andre and his family. Therefore we will not be making any further comment at this time.’

It is claimed the incident occurred just hours after Wisdom played in Derby’s 2-1 Championship win over Reading on Saturday.

A source told The Sun: ‘It’s awful news. He must have been on a high after his team played so well. To then have something like this happen is just tragic. It was totally unprovoked. 

Wisdom made his Liverpool debut in 2012 before leaving the club for Derby permanently

Wisdom made his Liverpool debut in 2012 before leaving the club for Derby permanently

Wisdom has played over 100 times for Derby and is a key man in their promotion push

Wisdom has played over 100 times for Derby and is a key man in their promotion push

‘It’s impossible to imagine what his family must be going through.

‘All his fans wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully he’ll be back on the pitch again soon.’ 

Wisdom signed for Liverpool as a youngster and worked his way through the club’s youth system. He made his first-team debut in September 2012 in a Europa League game against Young Boys.

After falling out of favour at Anfield, Wisdom moved to Derby in 2017 and has played for the Rams ever since.

Wisdom has played over 100 times for Derby and is a key man in their hopes to reach the Premier League. They are just three points off the play-off places at present.  

Thomas Beattie came out but worries for anyone following his lead


Thomas Beattie spent years trying to get a recurring thought out of his head and it was a shattered skull that convinced him to leave it be.

He remembers everything so clearly — the ball, the bounce, the back of the other guy’s head, the crunch and the hundreds of tiny shards of bone floating behind his eyes. He remembers the pain and the seven surgeries and, most of all, he remembers a deeply personal epiphany that, five years on, has suddenly become a discussion point for strangers around the world.

First, to the accident. He was 29, an Englishman abroad. His had been a nomad’s career, one of those largely anonymous adventures in football’s backwaters — a young pro at Hull City who would ultimately make his way in the leagues of Canada and Singapore.

Former footballer and Hull City youth team player Thomas Beattie came out as gay last week

In 2015, at Bedok Stadium, a ground fit for 3,800 fans on a good day, he was playing midfield for Warriors FC, the most successful club in the Singapore Premier League. They were up against Geylang United.

‘The ball was bouncing between me and another guy,’ Beattie tells Sportsmail in his first interview with an English newspaper. ‘We were sprinting and he turned his head last second and I hit the back of his head.

‘I compressed both eye sockets, fractured the top of my skull, my cheekbones, had a brain haemorrhage. Literally what happens in a car crash.’

He adds: ‘I was constantly in and out of hospital, having plates put in and bone fragments taken out from behind my eye sockets. It was absolutely horrific and it was also a total, amazing blessing.’

That is because it ended his career in a job he adored, and in the same breath it helped him to live, because in that world of football he had never allowed himself to accept what he had suspected for so long — that he is gay.

Beattie is worried that abuse from fans will be worse than what players hear from team-mates

Beattie is worried that abuse from fans will be worse than what players hear from team-mates

‘Leaving football gave me more freedom to decide on things,’ he says. ‘I knew when I was recovering that I wouldn’t play again, so I wouldn’t hide from this any more. It allowed me to figure out who I was.’

Last week he came out publicly, three months after he started telling his friends and family. You can only be delighted for him.

But Beattie’s is a story of nuance, of confusion, and offers no easy answers to the question of why there are no openly gay male footballers — a simplistic question that is usually rooted in a good place but contributes to the sort of spotlight that intimidates and inhibits.

The details Beattie has bravely chosen to share show that there is no neat narrative.

He takes us back to when he signed his first professional contract at Hull, aged 16, having joined the club at nine. ‘A few of the senior pros took the new intake to a strip club,’ he says. ‘I didn’t know I was gay at the time and where I grew up in Goole, Yorkshire, there wasn’t that kind of diversity, so I didn’t understand. But I knew I felt uncomfortable for some reason.’

Beattie would have girlfriends through his early and mid-twenties but something ‘nagged’ at him in the absence of any obvious attraction to men at first. ‘I just had a feeling I wasn’t being me,’ he says.

Beattie played his football in Canada and Singapore after leaving Hull City's academy

Beattie played his football in Canada and Singapore after leaving Hull City’s academy

A complication around football came in 2006, when Beattie was 19. He had half a year left on his deal at Hull under Peter Taylor but had not broken through to the first team. The club rated him, but the pressures of making it felt unbearable to a young adult who, in his words, ‘didn’t know who I was and why I felt like it’. For that reason he escaped to take a football scholarship in the US.

‘I just needed to be outside of that pressure environment,’ he says. While Beattie would go on to get professional contracts with Canadian clubs between 2008 and 2013, he rejected Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock in 2009 for similar reasons to why he left Hull.

‘I was there three weeks and just felt uncomfortable again,’ he says. ‘I was maybe 21, and the fear of being in such a pressurised environment when I was struggling to understand who I was, that was hard.’

By the age of 23, Beattie was having distinct thoughts that he was gay. Burying them became his routine.

‘I was most vulnerable at night,’ he says. ‘In the evenings it would be creeping in on my brain and I would start getting on the phone or going to the gym, blocking it out.’

Former Norwich player Justin Fashanu was the first British footballer to come out in 1990

Former Norwich player Justin Fashanu was the first British footballer to come out in 1990

At 28, and having played for Hougang United and Warriors in Singapore, Beattie knew for sure. But not once did he tell a team-mate. His reasons are illuminating.

‘I never came close to telling anyone,’ he says. ‘That was for a couple of reasons. Mainly because of my reluctance to accept it within myself. But also because in football, everything is centred on the game and anything that distracts your energy can be a problem.

‘That is something that needs to be kept in mind and also it is possibly why people do not come out. Even if I had complete contentment with who I was, football is volatile — you never know where you are going to be one year to the next and adding that level of uncertainty to it is not easy. There are countries where it could be illegal and suddenly you are limiting yourself.’

He continues: ‘The dressing room isn’t what people maybe say. You would hear the odd homophobic word, but usually they are words and not feelings.

‘To be honest, especially now, a dressing room is so diverse — people from all ethnicities. You just can’t be a fundamentally discriminating person in that environment.’

Watford captain Troy Deeney claims there is probably one gay player in every football team

Watford captain Troy Deeney claims there is probably one gay player in every football team 

Beattie agrees emphatically with the view that abuse from supporters is a greater deterrent than fears over colleagues. ‘Definitely,’ he says. ‘Society has the biggest part to play in all this.’

So far, since coming out last Tuesday, Beattie says the response has been ‘amazing if a bit crazy’. He adds that ‘hundreds of sportsmen around the world have made contact’. His hope is to be a sounding board for others contemplating the step, though he accepts in football it will always be hard.

‘That spotlight on it will make it difficult,’ he says.

Today Beattie, 33, is happy with who he is. As an entrepreneur in Singapore, he is involved in 11 projects from restaurants to real estate to app development — a successful and thriving man. As an ex-footballer, he has just re-cleared an overgrown trail that Justin Fashanu once created.

Hopefully, in time, it won’t take a fractured skull for others to feel they can follow the same path.

Shocking video appears to show grinning Liverpool fan snorting line of cocaine


A shocking video has emerged which appears to show a Liverpool fan snorting white powder off a the hat of a police officer during celebrations to mark their first Premier League title.

Large crowds gathered at Pier Head in the city centre to celebrate Liverpool winning their first league title in 30 years.

There were clashes with police and fireworks were thrown at the Liver Building but a video has since surfaced which shows a small group of grinning supporters showing off the hat which has a line of white powder on the top. 

Two of the group snort the powder with one identified as ‘Joe’ in the clip which was posted on Twitter.   

A white powder is seen on the hat as the group of young men are seen smiling showing it off while stood in the packed crowd

A shocking video appears to show a Liverpool supporter snorting white powder off the hat of a police officer during Friday’s celebrations to mark the club winning the Premier League title

One supporter is seen pushing a policeman as ugly clashes broke out during Friday's celebrations

Missiles were then thrown at police as the violence continued into the early hours at Pier Head in the city centre

Police were assaulted and struck by missiles by football supporters on Friday night as Liverpool supporters gathered to celebrate winning the league title in the city centre

More than 1,000 fans gathered in the city centre and police confirmed 15 arrests were made

More than 1,000 fans gathered in the city centre and police confirmed 15 arrests were made

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said he was left heartbroken by the 'disgusting behaviour'

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said he was left heartbroken by the ‘disgusting behaviour’

The video emerged after a 19-year-old was charged for throwing a firework at the Liver Building on a night when Merseyside police officers were struck by missiles and pushed to the ground by Liverpool supporters as ugly scenes broke out in the city centre on Friday.

Matthew Egglesden, 19, has been charged by police for causing criminal damage after a firework was thrown from Pier Head and exploded on collision with the building. 

He is scheduled to appear at Liverpool Magistrates court on Monday and the police are now stepping up their efforts to identify others who were involved in violent clashes with officers on the ground.  

Liverpool clinched their first league title in 30 years on Thursday night and on Friday, more than 1,000 people gathered at Pier Head in the city centre to continue the celebrations, only for violence to overshadow the gathering.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson shared a video of the violence and said that 300 fans ‘fought for over two hours’ with police before it all subsided in the early hours of Saturday morning.  

Anderson said he was left heartbroken following the violent scenes and believes the ‘mindless behaviour’ damages the city’s reputation.  

Missiles were thrown at officers and Merseyside Police confirmed 15 arrests were made with CCTV and body-cam footage to be analysed to look for any more perpetrators.   

Following confirmation of Liverpool’s first Premier League title, shocking scenes have been captured, including fireworks being thrown at the city’s iconic Liver building. The fireworks led to a fire on a balcony on the side of the building. 

Anderson’s video of ‘ugly scenes’ on his Twitter page saw violent clashes with police.

The video shows police being pushed and struck by objects after they have one man restrained on the floor.  In the final moments of the clip, some individuals step in to help the police and diffuse the situation. 

One supporter was detained on the ground and that caused anger among his fellow fans who demanded he was let go

Police remonstrated with angry supporters before clashes broke out with objects thrown

One fan was detained (left) and that caused anger among fellow fans who wanted him let go

Police have urged more understanding of the need to adhere to social distancing rules with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing as fans had consecutive nights celebrating in the city

Police have urged more understanding of the need to adhere to social distancing rules with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing as fans had consecutive nights celebrating in the city

In a statement released on Saturday, Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: ‘One man was arrested for assault after another man suffered head injuries. The injured male was taken to hospital where he remains in a serious condition. Two officers also suffered minor injuries after missiles were thrown at them by people in the crowd.

‘The crowds dispersed from the Pier Head at around 1:30am. But soon after there were reports of further crowd issues in other parts of the city centre. Officers intervened but again missiles were thrown at them.

‘In total 15 people, at the Pier Head and in the city centre, were arrested for various offences including public order offences, drunk and disorderly and affray.’

The gatherings, which included a huge gathering outside Anfield on Thursday night after the league title was confirmed, have been condemned with a frustration at the disregard for social distancing rules amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

‘I cannot stress enough that these gatherings put an unnecessary strain on our emergency services and could mean that we might not be able to get to other people who really need us,’ Cooke added. 

‘In the coming days we will be reviewing CCTV and Body Worn Camera footage to identify those involved in criminal and anti social behaviour and we will be issuing images through the media to find those responsible. I would urge anyone who has any information about those involved to contact us. 

Liverpool's players celebrated their league title win at Formby Hall on Thursday evening

Liverpool’s players celebrated their league title win at Formby Hall on Thursday evening

Victory over Crystal Palace on Wednesday was played without fans in attendance to celebrate

Victory over Crystal Palace on Wednesday was played without fans in attendance to celebrate

Fans instead congregated outside Anfield on Thursday to toast the Premier League title win

Fans instead congregated outside Anfield on Thursday to toast the Premier League title win

‘We are still in a public health crisis and we need to work together with the public of Merseyside to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.’ 

Following sharing the video, Mayor Anderson added in the police statement: ‘An occasion for celebration has been turned instead into headlines of disgraceful behaviour. 

‘Our city is, rightly, proud of the phenomenal success of one of our football teams. But the time for public celebration in crowds is not now. Our city remains in the grip of a major public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable. Let me be clear – lives are at risk.

‘Seeing thousands of people congregating at the Pier Head into the early hours and the ugly scenes shared on social media afterwards was heartbreaking to see. Fireworks, flares and tons of litter, amount to nothing but disrespect for our city.

‘This mindless behaviour has the potential to damage Liverpool’s reputation – both the club’s and the city. I don’t believe this is how the team would like their achievement to be remembered.’   

Liverpool FC had earlier put out a joint statement with police and the council in which they condemned supporters failing to abide by social distancing rules. 

Following the mass gathering, there was a deluge of litter strewn across the city centre

Following the mass gathering, there was a deluge of litter strewn across the city centre

The statement read: ‘Several thousand people turned up at the Pier Head on Friday June 26 and some chose to ignore the social distancing guidance and risk public safety.

‘Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable.

‘The potential danger of a second peak of Covid-19 still exists and we need to work together to make sure we don’t undo everything that has been achieved as a region during lockdown.

‘When it is safe to do so, we will all work together to arrange a victory parade when everyone can come together to celebrate. Until that time, the safety of our city and our people continues to be our number one priority.’

Anyone that has any further information on flares that were set alight on Friday night, who threw a firework at the Liver Building, or any other criminal incident that may have occurred is urged to get in touch with Merseyside Police. They can be reached @MerPolCC or contact @CrimestoppersUK anonymously. 



Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson hits out at ‘ugly scenes’ as football fans threw missiles at police


A 19-year-old has been charged for throwing a firework at the Liver Building on a night when Merseyside police officers were struck by missiles and pushed to the ground by Liverpool supporters as ugly scenes broke out in the city centre on Friday.

Matthew Egglesden, 19, has been charged by police for causing criminal damage after a firework was thrown from Pier Head and exploded on collision with the building. 

He is scheduled to appear at Liverpool Magistrates court on Monday and the police are now stepping up their efforts to identify others who were involved in violent clashes with officers on the ground.  

Liverpool clinched their first league title in 30 years on Thursday night and on Friday, more than 1,000 people gathered at Pier Head in the city centre to continue the celebrations, only for violence to overshadow the gathering.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson shared a video of the violence and said that 300 fans ‘fought for over two hours’ with police before it all subsided in the early hours of Saturday morning.  

Missiles were then thrown at police as the violence continued into the early hours at Pier Head in the city centre

Police were assaulted and struck by missiles by football supporters on Friday night as Liverpool supporters gathered to celebrate winning the league title in the city centre

One supporter was detained on the ground and that caused anger among his fellow fans who demanded he was let go

Police remonstrated with angry supporters before clashes broke out with objects thrown

One fan was detained (left) and that caused anger among fellow fans who wanted him let go

More than 1,000 fans gathered in the city centre and police confirmed 15 arrests were made

More than 1,000 fans gathered in the city centre and police confirmed 15 arrests were made

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said he was left heartbroken by the 'disgusting behaviour'

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said he was left heartbroken by the ‘disgusting behaviour’

Anderson said he was left heartbroken following the violent scenes and believes the ‘mindless behaviour’ damages the city’s reputation.  

Missiles were thrown at officers and Merseyside Police confirmed 15 arrests were made with CCTV and body-cam footage to be analysed to look for any more perpetrators.   

Following confirmation of Liverpool’s first Premier League title, shocking scenes have been captured, including fireworks being thrown at the city’s iconic Liver building. The fireworks led to a fire on a balcony on the side of the building. 

Anderson’s video of ‘ugly scenes’ on his Twitter page saw violent clashes with police.

The video shows police being pushed and struck by objects after they have one man restrained on the floor.  In the final moments of the clip, some individuals step in to help the police and diffuse the situation. 

Police have urged more understanding of the need to adhere to social distancing rules with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing as fans had consecutive nights celebrating in the city

Police have urged more understanding of the need to adhere to social distancing rules with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing as fans had consecutive nights celebrating in the city

In a statement released on Saturday, Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: ‘One man was arrested for assault after another man suffered head injuries. The injured male was taken to hospital where he remains in a serious condition. Two officers also suffered minor injuries after missiles were thrown at them by people in the crowd.

‘The crowds dispersed from the Pier Head at around 1:30am. But soon after there were reports of further crowd issues in other parts of the city centre. Officers intervened but again missiles were thrown at them.

‘In total 15 people, at the Pier Head and in the city centre, were arrested for various offences including public order offences, drunk and disorderly and affray.’

The gatherings, which included a huge gathering outside Anfield on Thursday night after the league title was confirmed, have been condemned with a frustration at the disregard for social distancing rules amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

‘I cannot stress enough that these gatherings put an unnecessary strain on our emergency services and could mean that we might not be able to get to other people who really need us,’ Cooke added. 

‘In the coming days we will be reviewing CCTV and Body Worn Camera footage to identify those involved in criminal and anti social behaviour and we will be issuing images through the media to find those responsible. I would urge anyone who has any information about those involved to contact us. 

Liverpool's players celebrated their league title win at Formby Hall on Thursday evening

Liverpool’s players celebrated their league title win at Formby Hall on Thursday evening

Victory over Crystal Palace on Wednesday was played without fans in attendance to celebrate

Victory over Crystal Palace on Wednesday was played without fans in attendance to celebrate

Fans instead congregated outside Anfield on Thursday to toast the Premier League title win

Fans instead congregated outside Anfield on Thursday to toast the Premier League title win

‘We are still in a public health crisis and we need to work together with the public of Merseyside to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.’ 

Following sharing the video, Mayor Anderson added in the police statement: ‘An occasion for celebration has been turned instead into headlines of disgraceful behaviour. 

‘Our city is, rightly, proud of the phenomenal success of one of our football teams. But the time for public celebration in crowds is not now. Our city remains in the grip of a major public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable. Let me be clear – lives are at risk.

‘Seeing thousands of people congregating at the Pier Head into the early hours and the ugly scenes shared on social media afterwards was heartbreaking to see. Fireworks, flares and tons of litter, amount to nothing but disrespect for our city.

‘This mindless behaviour has the potential to damage Liverpool’s reputation – both the club’s and the city. I don’t believe this is how the team would like their achievement to be remembered.’   

Liverpool FC had earlier put out a joint statement with police and the council in which they condemned supporters failing to abide by social distancing rules. 

Following the mass gathering, there was a deluge of litter strewn across the city centre

Following the mass gathering, there was a deluge of litter strewn across the city centre

The statement read: ‘Several thousand people turned up at the Pier Head on Friday June 26 and some chose to ignore the social distancing guidance and risk public safety.

‘Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable.

‘The potential danger of a second peak of Covid-19 still exists and we need to work together to make sure we don’t undo everything that has been achieved as a region during lockdown.

‘When it is safe to do so, we will all work together to arrange a victory parade when everyone can come together to celebrate. Until that time, the safety of our city and our people continues to be our number one priority.’

Anyone that has any further information on flares that were set alight on Friday night, who threw a firework at the Liver Building, or any other criminal incident that may have occurred is urged to get in touch with Merseyside Police. They can be reached @MerPolCC or contact @CrimestoppersUK anonymously. 



Rugby League star Scott Bessant dies at 37, three years after a being paralysed in a horror accident


BREAKING NEWS: Welsh rugby league star Scott Bessant dies aged 37 with ‘complications with pneumonia’, three years after the horror accident that left him unable to walk

  • Former rugby league star Scott Bessant died on Thursday morning aged 37 
  • Bessant had been found seriously hurt near a bridge in Wales in August 2017 
  • The incident caused Bessant to sustain skull fractures and other serious injuries

Former rugby league star Scott Bessant has died at the age of 37 – almost three years after a horror incident that left him with life-changing injuries.  

Bessant, who was a father of two, passed away on Thursday morning after suffering from complications with pneumonia.  

The ex-Wales Dragonhearts full back had been found seriously hurt in August 2017 following a night spent drinking at a pub in Abersychan.

Former rugby league star Scott Bessant has died almost three years after a horror incident

The incident caused Bessant to sustain several fractures to his skull, a fractured neck, broken ribs and a fractured pelvis. 

Bessant has also suffered multiple strokes since the injuries, and was left unable to walk or talk.

He had been discovered by a passerby in the early hours of August 13 in Pentwyn Lane, near to the Little Crown pub. It remains a mystery how Bessant was hurt.

A heartfelt tribute was published on the Wales Rugby League website.

Bessant, who was a father of two, had passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning

Bessant, who was a father of two, had passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning

It read: ‘For over 950 days, Scott’s parents, Howard and Jackie, didn’t missed a day in visiting their son, until everything went on lockdown. 

‘Scott was due to eventually live with his sister Rachael, whose home was in the process of being adapted for his complex needs.

‘There was an initial scare in April when it was thought Scott had contracted COVID-19 but last week, he went down with pneumonia and sadly lost his battle on the morning of Thursday 25th June.’  

His family were unable to visit him in hospital due to the coronavirus crisis.  

The 37-year-old was left with several injuries, such as a fractured skull, after a mystery incident

The 37-year-old was left with several injuries, such as a fractured skull, after a mystery incident

Bessant was left in a coma for more than ten months after the incident, and underwent rehabilitation at Rookwood Hospital. 

He later left the hospital and was moved to a care facility.

In April, Bessant was taken to hospital with a chest infection and high temperature, but tested negative for coronavirus.  

Bessant had played rugby union before joining Pontypool in 2006, and earned his maiden Wales Dragonhearts rugby league cap two years later. He made six appearances in total for the amateur international team.