Liverpool FC has been involved in the city’s pride celebrations annually for around a decade, but this weekend’s march will occur amidst growing discourse on former captain Jordan Henderson’s move to Saudi Arabia, discourse coming from both within the club’s umbrella — on the part of the supporters’ board and the Kop Outs as well as from Liverpool supporting journalists like The Athletic’s Caoimhe O’Neill and the Liverpool Echo’s Joe Rimmer — and those outside of it — notably The Athletic’s Oliver Kay, who covered Henderson’s strong statements of allyship with Rainbow Laces, and more recently various members of UK television media, like Sky Sports chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol.
While discussion of Henderson’s move shows no sign of abating, the club’s staff and fans will join in Saturday’s Pride march to show support for LGBTQ+ people “in the Liverpool City Region and beyond.”
The march is the latest of a month of pride-related activities, which included a badge-design competition, the LFC Foundation Pride tournament, and other activities focused within the club’s circle of influence specifically.
Commenting on the Pride month activities, Liverpool FC’s director of impact, Rishi Jain, summarized the importance of these actions:
“Celebrating Pride across our city throughout July presents a range of fantastic events for both our staff and fans to get involved in and show their support to our local LGBT+ community and beyond.
“The ‘March with Pride’ event is always a highlight and one which we have supported for over 10 years.
“Through our Red Together campaign, we are committed to bringing about change and part of that is helping to raise awareness of important issues that continue to impact the lives of the LGBT+ community.
“As a club we celebrate the diversity of our fans and strive to make everyone feel welcome and take pride in being their authentic self.”
Henderson’s move has provided a level of discourse and scrutiny when it comes to allyship and discrimination in football; the club’s insistence on Pride events is a welcome counter-example, emphasizing that LGBTQ+ fans are welcome and appreciated. One wonders, however, if the criticism being laid at Henderson’s individual feet at present might soon travel to the wider football industry, which has, up to this point, limited its willingness to engage in these questions.