Rainbow Devils going from strength to strength
Manchester United is proud to show our support for the 2019/20 Rainbow Laces campaign in our upcoming Premier League fixture against Tottenham Hotspur.
The initiative by Stonewall and the Premier League aims to promote equality and diversity for all LGBT people in football and beyond.
Old Trafford will don Rainbow Laces corner flags, ball plinths, handshake boards and substitute boards. Our skipper for Wednesday’s match will also wear a rainbow captain’s armband.
During the game, LED boards around the ground will continue to highlight the campaign.
There is extra significance behind this year's campaign, as it will be the first since the formation of United's LGBT+ supporters group, Rainbow Devils. Founded in February this year, group lead Eric Najib provided an insight into how the group was formed.
“When we were doing the Rainbow Laces campaign last year it was obvious to myself and United that we needed to set up our own LGBT+ supporters group.
“We did this in February, which tied in with the beginning of LGBT+ History Month, and we invited a few people to Old Trafford and basically came up with the idea of the name, the logo and everything else."
Later this week, Manchester United Women’s game against Everton Women at Leigh Sports Village will also see the club supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign.
“Through my involvement with Stonewall FC and and the fact that I’ve been a season-ticket holder at United for 25 years, I was asked if I could take the lead and as both causes are a huge passion of mine, I was delighted to accept and we started from there," Eric added.
"I think it’s important for any club to have an LGBT+ supporters group," Eric said. "As LGBT+ fans we sometimes feel that although strides are being made to challenge discrimination in football, there can still be some serious issues and we want all fans to support the work we’re doing and the club’s #allredallequal campaign – all fans regardless of the individual characteristics and background should be comfortable going to and watching football matches.”
As the group approaches one year since it's formation, Eric is hoping to increase the exposure in the months ahead, which includes getting the group exposure at next year's Manchester Pride festival.
"We’ve been around less than a year now and we’re making progress. We’ve got a committee in place now, which is really good, and we’re getting some good help from Manchester United, the club. The #allredallequal campaign I think has gained some really good traction, not just in terms of the LGBT+ work, but other initiatives, and we’re proud to be a part of that."
"We’ve got a membership group of 75 people on it already, as well as nearly 500 Twitter followers, so we want to continue growing and growing. My ambition would be that we are ready and in a position at Pride next year,keep the numbers moving up, keep the Twitter updates, keep the newsletter and keep working closely with the club to get bigger and better."