England's Conor Coady and Stonewall FC's Jay Lemonius share Wembley connection

Wednesday 09 Dec 2020
Coady and Lemonius chatted to Mark McAdam on Rainbow Laces Day in support of Stonewall's campaign to make sport more inclusive for the LGBT community

England’s Conor Coady and Stonewall FC’s Jay Lemonius struck a common chord this week by uniting for a chat ahead of Rainbow Laces Day.

Both players have fond memories of Wembley Stadium, with Coady having broken into the Three Lions squad earlier this year to make a goalscoring bow at the famous venue, while Jay featured for Stonewall FC in their historic Middlesex County Football League game against Wilberforce Wanderers back in 2018.

And, in a call hosted by Sky Sports’ Mark McAdam, both players spoke fondly of their memories and experiences of featuring under the Arch.

"To get the opportunity to play there is the most special feeling in the world, nothing will come near it,” said Coady.

"And when The FA were pushing to get Stonewall there, I think it's fantastic.

"Football is a sport for everyone and it always should be and for me it always has been because if we can do something like that as a sport and use the platform we've got, it's massive.”

Lemonius, who has since joined The FA as our equality and diversity officer, added: "It's an incredible experience, I look back and it all feels a bit hazy because those opportunities don't really come around for people like me.

"For us as a club, which had been around for a long time, I think it was the symbolisation of not just our efforts in terms of where the club is today, but for all the people at Stonewall FC who walked before we could run, it's one that will live long in our memories forever.”

Wolves captain Coady has previously spoken in support of the LGBT community in his role at Molineux and as the 2020 Rainbow Laces campaign draws to a close, was only too happy to re-iterate why he thinks the symbolism is so important.

"The biggest thing is when we see these things and my kids look at that and they ask me why I'm wearing a different captain's armband or how come I’m taking a knee and I explain to them the situation,” he revealed.

"So if I'm teaching my kids and the next generation about this kind of thing, then hopefully we can stamp this thing out.”

Wolves defender Conor Coady has become a regular in the England squad during the 2020-21 season

And Coady also said he'd be more than willing to help and advise any player, were they to approach him about wanting to come out as LGBT in the future. 

"I'd advise them to be open and honest and to speak to me whenever you want to speak to me and we'll go about it together," he revealed.

"You're more than team mates, you become a family because you spend so much time together.

"This is a massive part of someone's life, this is huge, so to keep that inside and keep it a secret and to not be happy coming out about it, it's absolutely heart-breaking.

"It doesn't change anybody, or anything about that person, it's no problem at all and that should be the feeling about everybody. So that would be my advice and I'd be there with them every step they take forward."

The former Liverpool youngster also refused to rule out making an appearance for Stonewall FC in the future, once his club and international career starts to wind down.

With Lemonius claiming “we need a centre-half”, Coady was quick to request his role to be as a sweeper should he turn out for the most famous LGBT grassroots club in the world.

So, that's certainly one switch to keep an eye on in the years to come...

You can read more about The FA's partnership with Stonewall here.

By Nicholas Veevers