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James Laley

Founder / Chair

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About You


I work at Sheffield Hallam University and am the main organiser of Sheffield Rainbow Laces. I’ve lived in Sheffield for over 15 years now and have 3 awesome God children. I also love Real Ales and all Wine. Some people think it’s gross, but my favourite cocktail is a Bloody Mary.


How long have you been a Blade? Your favorite moment?


I have been a Blade since 2008, so I guess to quite a few that makes me a newbie. However, I could not see myself with any other club. Sheffield United through and through. I guess my favourite moment would have to be what made me see the red and white light, the day I became a Blade. It was during the Steel City Derby of 2008, my first time to Bramall Lane and to a football match. I was stood in the Kop with one of my best mates and the reaction and atmosphere when James Beattie scored his free kick to level us up 2-2 was something else.    


Why you wanted to join Rainbow Blades, and be part of the committee?


I founded Rainbow Blades because anyone who is a Blade, no matter your Sexual or Gender Identity or any other protected characteristic, should be able to support Sheffield United, enjoy football as a fan, player or coach without any fear of discrimination. I want all fans to be welcome at Bramall Lane. I want Sheffield United to be a fully inclusive football club and shout about it.  

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Adam Murray

Sponsorship

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About You


I am Owner and Managing Director of Urbana Town Planning. Urbana is a town planning consultancy based in Sheffield & London and working nationwide. Before anything, we are born of a passion for the built environment and the way cities work. Our mission is to provide exceptional design-led planning expertise.
On a more personal level I live in Ranmoor with my fiancé Alex, who is an architect. So cities are our passion!


How long have you been a Blade? Your favourite moment?


I have been a Blade all my life and a season ticket for most. Currently I have a season ticket in the south stand, and also have a corporate sponsorship through Urbana. My favourite moments are many, but unsurprisingly many are now recent, thanks to Mr Wilder. Best has to go to a dinner I was invited to at Cutlers Hall where I was sat next to Chris Wilder. We chatted everything Blades all through dinner, simply amazing. Match wise, sponsoring the Manchester United 3-3 match last season would take some beating.


Why you wanted to join Rainbow Blades, and be part of the committee?


I want to be on this committee to ensure that we take football kicking and screaming into the 21st century on this issue. Inclusivity of all is key, and how we achieve that is through talking and accepting difference. This is a real chance to show LGBT+ youngsters that they have a place in football. It’s also a chance to fight against the advice of agents and others, whom are encouraging players to stay ‘in the closet’ when players coming out would change this conversation altogether.

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Katey Beeden

Administration & Public Relations

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About You

I'm Katey! I moved to Sheffield in 1998 and live with my husband, son, cat and dog within walking distance of Bramall Lane. I'm a writer, reader and fangirl and love musical theatre. Vegan cake is the way to my heart.


How long have you been a Blade? Your favorite moment?

I've been a United fan since the 1995/1996 season, the year of the infamous diamond kit. There have been plenty of highs and lows over the years but my favourite individual moment is Jagielka's screamer of a goal against Leeds in the League Cup. I love a long-range shot and a late goal so that was a highlight. 


Why you wanted to join Rainbow Blades, and be part of the committee?

 

I joined Rainbow Blades in 2020 because I'd grown distant from United after having my son and struggling with anxiety. Lockdown made me realise I wanted to reconnect with the club and meeting others who were passionate about making Bramall Lane a welcoming and inclusive space for all was one of the best things to come out of covid. 

 

I've made amazing friends through Rainbow Blades and wanted to join the committee to reach out to other fans, especially those who are shy or anxious, who are looking to join the fantastic, safe community Rainbow Blades are building.

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Lewis Parker

Communications & Marketing

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About You

Hi! I work at Sheffield Hallam University, enjoy running and heading out for walks around the Peak District whenever I get a chance. Alongside football, I'm a big Formula 1 fan, (very) amateur guitar player and love live music. I'm also vegan and an animal lover; I have two destructive rescue rabbits and a slightly stinky, one-eyed rescue dog living at home with me, my partner Amy, and my daughter, Poppy.  


How long have you been a Blade? Your favourite moment?

I first started supporting United around 2002, basically once I started hearing Neil Warnock ranting about referees on Radio Sheffield and became more aware of teams outside of the 'big' Premier League teams everyone at school supported. My favourite moment? Simple: "O'Connell coming in! That's the one! Forget the maths, the Premier League beckons for Sheffield United." Enough said. 


Why you wanted to join Rainbow Blades, and be part of the committee?

I joined Rainbow Blades because I was delighted to finally see a safe, welcoming space where I could meet other United fans but be able to be open about my sexuality and not feel like I had to hide any part of myself. As part of the committee I hope to have a role, however small, in supporting others to feel the same way, to keep promoting Rainbow Blades as an inclusive and friendly group and helping new members and other LGBTQ+ football fans feel welcome at Bramall Lane.

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Anna Kent

Campaigns

About You

I graduated in 2019 with a music degree from Hull. I love football, beer and singing, and I'm a twin!


How long have you been a Blade? Your favorite moment?

Forever! My dad is a united fan, and my grandad before him (both Sheffield lads) - so although I've never actually lived in the city, it's been a lifelong passion. We got our first season tickets when we were 7. I think my first memory of a match was when we beat Arsenal 1-0 in 2006 and Jags was in goal for the last half hour. Favourite moment has got to be the day we secured promotion out of league one after seven long years. We were at the lane for the beamback and it was just a total goosebumps moment.


Why you wanted to join Rainbow Blades, and be part of the committee?

 

There's been some progress in sport in the last few years around homophobia and inclusion, but like with racism, football still has a long way to go. I'm passionate about making the sport and team I love so much a welcoming environment for everybody.

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