Matt Morton, a player-manager for Thetford Town FC in Norfolk, England came out to his players as gay. He was met with support and understanding from his teammates and the club’s chairman.
Matt Morton is the manager of Thetford Town in England’s fifth tier. In 2017, he came out to his players and explained how he had been living a lie for years.
Matt Morton (right), a player-manager for Thetford Town, and his boyfriend Lorenzo have been together for 18 months.
As he clicked the send button on Thetford Town’s WhatsApp group conversation, Matt Morton’s mind raced with ideas.
What would his teammates’ reactions be? Was he about to be forgotten? Would he have to look for a new team? Had he made the correct decision?
Morton utilized social media to come out to his fellow teammates at the ninth-tier Norfolk club eighteen months after discovering he was homosexual at the age of 31.
His phone beeped with responses minutes after he sent the message.
One said, “I’m very proud of you for following your heart.” Another participant wrote: “It will never alter our feelings for you. We adore you to pieces.”
While Thetford’s players were ecstatic to learn that one of their own had made the difficult choice to disclose his sexuality, his parents were initially resistant.
“My mother was giggling uncontrollably. ‘You’re not homosexual, you’ve had girlfriends,’ she said as she bolted from the room. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no “He revealed this to Sport.
Morton has been named player-managerexternal-link at Thetford Town after coming out to his teammates on July 22, 2019. Thetford Town are travelling to Arlesey Town in the FA Cup extra preliminary round on Saturday.
The 34-year-old believes that by sharing his experience, others in similar circumstances will gain confidence and strength, such as defender Jahmal Howlett-Mundle, who disclosed his bisexuality to his Sheppey United teammates last month. external-link
Morton was named player-manager of Thetford Town in September of this year. Because of the coronavirus epidemic, he has yet to finish a full season in command.
‘It frightened me.’
Morton had no shortage of female attention as a child and spent his twenties in and out of partnerships.
“The longest was approximately a year,” he added, adding that it had occurred twice. “My girlfriends were important to me. I liked all of them, but I never fell in love with any of them.”
After being drawn to someone on Instagram in January 2018, Morton began to doubt his sexuality.
“It was the sensation you get when you’re a kid and it’s your first love, your first date,” he said.
Morton didn’t come out to his personal assistant at work for another three months.
“I was thinking about it and asking myself things like, ‘Am I homosexual or is it just this one guy?’” Why hasn’t anything like this occurred before? Is this just a fad?
“To be honest, that frightened me a little.”
“Only because the relationship had ended and it was driving me crazy did I decide to tell anybody. It was the most depressing time of my life.”
Morton had to wait another year before informing a female friend and closest buddy, then his brother, sister, cousins, and teammates.
Kelvin and Olga, his parents, were the last people he wanted to inform. It was done on purpose. “They’re both a little out of date,” he remarked.
The discussion was a disaster.
Morton discovered he was homosexual at the age of 31 in January 2018.
‘I haven’t spoken to my mother in three months.’
Kelvin Morton, Morton’s father, was a Premier League and Football League referee between 1986 and 1995. In a match between Crystal Palace and Brighton in 1989, he awarded five penalties in the span of 27 minutesexternal-link.
Olga, his mother, is from Belfast and describes herself as “extremely pious.” Morton, the youngest of three children, stated that if a homosexual person appeared on television, his family would make remarks.
“Elton John is one of my father’s favorite musicians, but he’ll say things like, ‘I really enjoy his music, it’s a pity he’s homosexual,’” she says.
Both Morton’s parents struggled to understand what he was hearing when he informed them about his sexuality.
He said, “Mum replied, ‘I can’t accept it, I won’t accept it, I’ll never accept it.”
“‘Well, you’ll never accept me,’ I said. ‘I love you, but I’m having trouble with this,’ my father replied.”
For the next three months, Morton did not talk to his mother. “I assumed I’d misplaced them,” he continued.
Rifts have been mended since then, and Morton’s shattered connection with his parents has been repaired.
Morton’s long-term boyfriend, Lorenzo, has been asked to stay with Kelvin and Olga.
Morton considers himself a “old-school” centre-half.
‘When I told the Chairman, he wept.’
Morton, a homosexual player who has come out, is a rarity in the men’s game.
Justin Fashanu is the first male footballer who has revealed his sexuality while playing professionally in the highest divisions after three decades.
Morton intends to keep sharing his experience, but thinks that a Premier League player coming out would “have such a positive effect on so many lives and decrease suicides.”
“Suicide is the leading cause of death among UK males under 45, and sexuality plays a role,” he said.
“If you’re having trouble, speak to someone you can trust.” I’m a strong individual with a large personality, yet I needed to speak with someone. Nobody can do everything by himself.
“On social media, people have contacted me, and I have replied. That is something I will continue to do.”
Since coming out, Morton has received a flood of supportive letters.
“I am vain, I care about how I appear, I go to the gym, and I obsess about my hair,” he said. “Before I came out, I was subjected to more homophobic remarks than I have since.”
“Last season, we faced Needham Market, and one of their attackers, Jose Santa de La Paz, approached me on the field and said, ‘You’re Matt Morton, right?’ ‘All I want to do is shake your hand.’”
|At the age of 56, assistant manager John Taylor, who played at Cambridge with Dion Dublin, came in as a substitute against Lakenheath on Saturday.||Quevin Castro, a new West Brom signing, scored five goals in 40 appearances for Thetford Town as a 17-year-old in 2018-19.|
|Mulbarton Wanderers striker Adam Plumstead broke his tibia and fibula during a match in April, and Thetford’s players donated their salaries to him.||Tymal Mills, an England T20 cricket fast bowler, was a member of Thetford Town’s Under-18 team. Former Norwich striker Ian Henderson, who is currently at Salford, is another former Thetford player.|
Outside the club, though, there has been the occasional unpleasant remark.
“One player from another team reportedly said, “I wouldn’t play for Thetford since Matt is homosexual.” It irritated me “Thetford’s 62-year-old chairman, Nigel Armes, wept when Morton appeared.
“Matt is a gentlemanly, well-spoken, and driven individual. He is someone I admire. I was a little teary-eyed. I assured Matt that he had the full backing of this club. It’s his life and his business.”
Morton described himself as “happy and satisfied” and “getting on with life” as a director for Amplify, a new health, wellness, and fitness app.
He claimed it took him 18 months from the time he realized he was homosexual to telling his family, friends, and teammates.
“My only regret is that I didn’t tell them all sooner, but we’re all different.”
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