So here we are again, that annual event where footballers are asked to lace up to show support for the LGBT community. Now here at Pride Of Irons we know that it takes more than an annual event, which is why we – and other clubs’ LGBT groups – do what we do. However we are also very lucky that West Ham United feel the same and support us all year round. But initiatives like this are also important in their own right. They’re a big bold statement from the footballing industry from the very top saying “It’s time to end homophobia in football”. Saying “We support our LGBT fans”. Saying “We will support players who come out”. Because although it is only once a year, it is growing. This year the Football League has volunteered to join in the initiatives and this weekend in stadiums up and down the country will be showing their rainbow colours, bright and proud!

So what are we doing? Read on to find out…

Going to the game?

On your approach to the stadium, might we suggest taking a stroll over from Westfields where you can take in the view of the stadium on your approach. There you’ll see the gigantic WEST HAM UNITED sign and beaneath that, the impressive digital wrap. Now a lot has been said about this wrap. The biggest in Europe isn’t it? A great place to show team lineups, footage from old games and on Friday? Only the blooming Pride Of Irons logo, proudly positioned alongside the West Ham United crest! As we’ve already said, West Ham United have given us huge amounts of support and having the club show their pride with this gesture really means a lot!

While you’re in the area, why not bag yourself a pair of Rainbow Laces? On Friday the team, the officials, club staff and maybe even the on duty police will be lacing up. So why not join them? Come to our pre-match meet up and not only will you get the pleasure of meeting your fellow LGBT fans and allies, but you’ll get a free pair of rainbow laces too! As usual you can get hold of your fellow members on match days using our WhatsApp group.

What’s that? A lovely new pair of laces isn’t enough to lure you along to a meet up? Oh alright then! You can have one of our awesome member badges too. Happy now?

Whether you’re at our meet up or not, if you’re going to the game make sure you keep an eye on the big screens before kick off and have a little look in the programme…

Staying Homes?

Then tune into Sky Sports Premier League to watch the match. Now I don’t know about you, but I LOVE all the pre-match stuff. It really enriches the match day experience…oh okay I can take it or leave it, but this week I promise you it’s worth it! Tune in to Carling’s In Off The Bar from 6:30pm on the same channel to see POI founder and co-chair, Jim, presenting his fan film and talking about our group.

There is also a post-match show which (along with the pre-match show) is live-streamed on Sky Sports and Soccer AMFacebook, Twitter and YouTube feeds.

Fancy being there?

There are a small number of audience slots available and an even smaller window to bag them if you fancy coming. You will need to be in Islington between 6:00pm and 11:00pm this Friday (24th November).

If you are interested in attending, please get in contact ASAP. Places are on a first come, first served basis.

You know how we keep saying how the club have been supportive?

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed the new West Ham rainbow badges and key rings in club stores and online. If you thought these were for the rainbow laces campaign, you’d be wrong. West Ham consulted with Pride Of Irons some months back around producing these items to show their support of their LGBT fans and to allow other West Ham fans to do the same. They will be available to purchase all year round! I don’t know about you, but I’ll be adding them to my letter to Santa.

West Ham’s official rainbow productsc

Look how great they look alongside POI members badge.

…and last but not least, Happy Birthday to the star of Pride 2017!

No, not Hammerhead – though he is a superstar in his own right. We’re talking about Kenzie who is 9 years old on Friday!

A big Happy Birthday from everyone at Pride Of Irons!

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