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Blackpool's Jake Daniels reveals Thetford Town's Matt Morton helped inspire him to come out as gay



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Back in late 2019 Bury St Edmunds-based non-league footballer Matt Morton took the brave step to publicly post on social media that he was gay.

Little did he know then though that it was to later serve as an important trigger to help Blackpool's teenage forward Jake Daniels to today make worldwide headlines by following suit.

In doing so the 17-year-old became the first British active man in the professional game to come out publicly since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

Matt Morton, pictured playing for Thetford Town earlier this year, is proud to have helped inspire Blackpool's Jake Daniels to stop hiding his sexuality Picture: Mecha Morton
Matt Morton, pictured playing for Thetford Town earlier this year, is proud to have helped inspire Blackpool's Jake Daniels to stop hiding his sexuality Picture: Mecha Morton

The Thetford Town player-manager since September 2019 was named-dropped by Daniels in his revealing letter on his Championship club's official website.

"It’s a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I’ve been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change," he wrote.

Morton's media interviews in coming out, the first having been with the Bury Free Press and SuffolkNews in July 2020, sparked Daniels to reach out to him through his Instagram account.

And 35-year-old Morton revealed they have spoken and messaged regularly over the past 'three to four months' often 'multiple times a week'.

He said of Daniels: "He’s a brave, talented and inspiring young man with a bright future and I’m very proud of him."

The former Walsham-le-Willows player and player-chairman of the now defunct but highly successful Bury & District Sunday League side Gym United FC also posted on his Twitter account: "So proud of you ⁦@Jake_Daniels11….. you are a brave, talented and inspirational young man with a huge future in the game!

"Can’t wait to watch your feet do the talking in what’s no doubt going to be an exciting career ahead #mylilbro"

A further message simply said: "Proud of you and excited to see you fly."