Interview
Amal Fashanu
The Justin Campaign speaks to Justin's niece, Amal Fashanu, a woman who has worked with the campaign to both honour her uncle's memory and fight homophobia in the game.

What kind of relationship did you have with Justin?

I have always believed I was Justin's favourite, since I am his only niece and my relationship with him was simply amazing. The best uncle I could have asked to have.

What kind of person was he?

It's difficult to write in words what kind of a person he was as I would only say an infinite list of positive things. From what I can remember he was kind hearted, generous, loving, open, friendly and very talented.

What are you fondest memories of Justin?

I remember coming back from school one afternooon and finding Justin at home. I couldn't believe it. I was so excited and after dinner Justin, my mum and I had desert. If I'm correct it was strawberrys with cream that night, and as always he decided to spice things up so we started a strawberries and cream war. We then sat in the living room as I did my home work sat on his lap. This was the last day I ever saw him and I always remember this day as if it happened minutes ago.

I think it’s fair to say that your family struggled with Justin’s sexuality at the time. How do you feel about that?

I think like any family living constantly in the public eye, it is a struggle to live with people scrutinising your personal life as well as your professional one. Who cares what one does in their private life? Who really cares? What was Justin gifted at, football. So why care about his sexual preferences?

How would you like your uncle to be remembered?

I would love my uncle to be remembered for what he really was, a super talented and brave man who faced the world without fear. He is my Hero!

Do you think Justin can be an inspiration to other footballers who are considering coming out publicly?

I don't think he can be an inspiration, I know he is and will be to many out there who have the fear of saying who they are and not caring about the rest.

In February, Norwich City, Norwich Pride and The Justin Campaign came together to unveil Justin’s banner at Carrow Road in Norwich City’s Hall Of Fame. How proud were you to know that your uncle’s memory will live on forever at the home of his first club?

Even when I read this question I smiled because of how happy and proud this makes me. Maybe now people can recognise Justin for how much of an amazing footballer he was and not by the fact that he was homosexual or committed suicide.

Are you surprised that, prior to Swedish footballer Anton Hysen coming out only recently, no other professional footballers had come out publicly since Justin?

If I am honest surprised is not the word I would use to describe it. I would say I'm more disappointed. I find it sad that some one would have to oppress themselves and who they are from others just because they fear that people will judge.

How important do you think organisations like The Justin Campaign are in the fight against homophobia in football?

I think theses organisations play a key role. Apart from raising awareness it provides a community of support for those who may feel alone or misunderstood.

Your father John was also a highly successful, top-class footballer. Have you inherited the Fashanu football genes?

I would love to say yes, but unfortunately I don't think so. Although I must say I have scored many goals playing football with my family in the past.


Contact

Please contact Alan Duffy for enquiries.

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