Justin Fashanu would have been 53 today

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Norwich Football Club has paid tribute to the late gay footballer Justin Fashanu on what would have been his 53rd birthday.

On its Facebook page, the club wrote: “Today we remember City legend and Canary Hall of Fame member Justin Fashanu who would have been 53 today.

“Justin scored 40 goals in 103 appearances in all competitions for the Canaries between 1978 and 1981, including the BBC Goal of the Season against Liverpool in February 1980.

“He died tragically in 1998 aged just 37 and his experiences in the game serve as an inspiration in the fight against homophobia and all forms of discrimination within football.

“RIP Justin from all at Norwich City Football Club.”

He began his career with Norwich in 1978.

Three years later he became the first black footballer to command a £1million transfer fee, signing to Nottingham Forest in 1981.

Throughout the 80s Fashanu played for Notts County, Brighton and Hove Albion, along with stints in North America.

He went public about his sexuality in 1990.

Britain’s only footballer to come out and continue playing killed himself eight years later in 1998.

In March 2012, John Fashanu’s daughter, Amal Fashanu, presented a BBC documentary on homophobia in football and about the life of Justin Fashanu.

In an interview with Talksport in 2012, John Fashanu subsequently claimed his brother was not gay and was merely an attention seeker.

He was widely condemned for the remarks.

Retired Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger announced he was gay last month.

Former Leeds and US winger Robbie Rogers came out as gay and quit English football in February 2013.

He later reversed his decision to quit the game and signed for LA Galaxy – but as of yet Rogers has no plans to return to the English league.