Football Supporters' Association Awards 2022
Fans for Diversity Award
Rainbow Blades wins national award
Rainbow Blades won the Football Supporters Association Fans for Diversity award. This national win is huge achievement for Rainbow Blades and a testament to all the hard work.
Rainbow Blades Founder, James Laley says “To be shortlisted and invited down to London was a win but to go on and win the award is truly a remarkable moment for our group & the club. Over the past 2.5 years we have grown this supporters’ group to be one of the largest, now standing at over 550 members. More and more LGBTQ+ Blades are now empowered to be their authentic selves, Allies continue to be visible & the club have been a shining example of how to support & work with a football supporters’ group. The support from the boardroom, through the club staff & coaching team and players has only strengthened over time. It’s a relationship built on respect & trust. I am so proud to be a Blade, so proud of Rainbow Blades, so proud of our inclusive club. This win is for everyone associated with Rainbow Blades, everyone who has supported us. We are making a difference. United for All.”
Amy Hood, United's EDI manager, added: "It was a pleasure to have been able to attend the FSA Awards with James on behalf of the football club, further amplifying the hugely positive relationship Rainbow Blades has with Sheffield United. Having worked closely with James for the past two years, it's been incredibly pleasing to see Rainbow Blades go from strength to strength, as well as all of James' and his committee's hard work being recognised. We are extremely proud of Rainbow Blades and will continue working hard to make Sheffield United accessible, inclusive, and safe for everyone. The Fans for Diversity Award is more than well-earned and I'm so happy to see Rainbow Blades receiving the wider recognition that they deserve. A very proud moment for all involved."
Football v Homophobia Awards 2023
Professional Game Award
Women's Game Award
Supporters Group Award
Another win for Blades!
Sheffield United FC, Sheffield United Women, and our LGBTQ+ Supporters group, Rainbow Blades, were all shortlisted in their respective categories at this year’s Football v Homophobia Awards. FvH Awards are held annually to recognise the work that happens both in and around LGBTQ+ inclusion in football, across all levels of the game. This year’s ceremony took place at the National Football Museum in Manchester on Friday 24th of February, attended by the Club’s EDI Manager Amy Hood, as well as Rainbow Blades Founder and Chair, James Laley and two committee members Katey and Lewis.
The Football Club were triumphant in the Professional Game category, with both Sheffield United Women and Rainbow Blades coming in second in the Women’s Game and Supporters Group categories.
The Professional Game Award recognises professional football clubs who have shown dedication to improving the landscape of football for LGBTQ+ people and who have worked to create better inclusion and participation of LGBTQ+ people over the past year. Clubs that are nominated also have a keen emphasis on integrating LGBTQ+ inclusion into the foundations of the club.
The Women’s Game Award is for an individual or a club in England, Wales or Scotland who has worked to make the women’s game more inclusive of LGBTQ+ people in the UK over the past year.
The Supporter Group of the Year award, meanwhile, recognises groups who have worked to make professional football inclusive of LGBTQ+ fans over the past year.
James Laley, Rainbow Blades Founder commented: “What a season we are having for LGBTQ+ inclusion and recognition at Sheffield United. That’s two awards now! One for Rainbow Blades back in November at the Football Supporters Association awards and one for Sheffield United at the Football v Homophobia Awards. We are really making a big impact and difference. Long may this continue as we continue to push ourselves to be the best and help make football welcoming for everyone.”
Similarly, Lewis Parker, a Rainbow Blades Committee member said “The club's and Rainbow Blades success at these awards just shows the incredible progress we've made in such a short time. It's amazing to see how supportive the club has been of Rainbow Blades, and this is just deserved acknowledgement and makes me so proud to be a Blade”.
Katey Beeden, Rainbow Blades Committee member stated “It is wonderful that Sheffield United, Rainbow Blades and Sheffield United Women have been recognised for all they are doing to ensure football is truly for all. Very proud to be a Blade!”