Birmingham Blaze (Football Team)

BBFCWhat: LGBT-friendly football team. Blaze welcome players of all abilities! If you’ve got an interest in football, they want to hear from you.

Birmingham Blaze is part of  MUL and the GFSN league.

When: Wednesdays & Sundays (Training)

Additional Information: Take a look at the fitness profiles below to see how some team members got involved and what they love about the sport.

If you’re interested in supporting or playing for the team, get in touch.

Email: info@birmingham-blaze.co.ukWebsite: www.birmingham-blaze.co.uk/ | Twitter: @blazefc


 Photo of JPJP

How did you get started playing football, JP? 

I fell in love with Football while watching Italia 90 back when I was seven. Somehow it had passed me by before then, but the feel of the country, the excitement of the games and even the official song dragged me in. I started joining in with the games in the playground and 27 years later I’m still going. Sort of. Trying to, at least.

How did you come to join Blaze? 

Before the Blaze existed I used to travel to Leicester to play with the LGBT community team there, the Leicester Wildecats. Heard through the grapevine that someone, David Nikel, was setting up a Birmingham team. A date was set for the first training session and I was one of seven to join the kickabout on a small field just outside the NIA, which makes me the only person left at the club who’s been a member since the very start.

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities? 

At the time I joined Blaze I was playing football three times a week; twice training with Leicester and 5-a-side on Monday nights.

“Winning the GFSN National League… was an incredible feeling”

What do you love about it?

So many things. Being a part of the club has enabled me to meet so many people around the country and even worldwide who now make up a diverse and interesting friendship group, to represent the club in television and radio interviews and debates concerning homophobia in football. I’ve travelled to Germany, Netherlands, Hungary and Slovakia for tournaments, had the opportunity to work closely with the local LGBT community to try and open access to sport. I’ve made lots of close friends at the club and had far too many great nights out to list. And then there’s the football, and finally winning the GFSN National League the season before last was an incredible feeling. In short, tons.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about coming along?

Take the plunge. I know the worry you can feel before coming, it’s the same I felt before going to Leicester training for the first time. Five minutes in, I realised my worries were unnecessary. I wasn’t the fastest, the strongest and far from the most skillful, but I was welcomed with warmth and open arms. It’s the same welcome we give to players here at Blaze, as do all clubs in the GFSN.


Photo of NathanNathan

How did you get started playing football, Nathan? 

I started playing football on a consistent basis when I was about 13-14 at secondary school when I got into the school team as a central defender then my school friend asked me to play for his team outside of school as he thought I was a good player and since then I’ve been playing for a number of teams.

How did you come to join Blaze? 

I actually wanted to join Blaze for quite some time but I never had the confidence to do so as it felt like it would have been a whole new experience playing for an LGBT team. I thought it might be difficult to get along with the players there, but from my first day I loved it and wished I started earlier.

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities? 

When I first started playing for blaze I started playing badminton again as I love the sport so I searched to see if there were any LGBT badminton groups in Birmingham and there was!

“From my first day I loved it and wished I started earlier”

What do you love about it?

What I love about it is that there is a sense of togetherness about the team you can talk about anything and everything and there is plenty of laughs week in week out. But we also all like football which is also a plus!

What would you say to someone who was thinking about coming along?

I would say the team is very friendly and welcoming and if you have any nerves about meeting new people or if you feel you are not good enough then it will all go away when you turn as we just a bunch of lads who like playing football and who like to have laugh on and off the pitch.


Blaze team photoCraig

How did you get started playing football, Craig? 

I’ve also played since school at different levels. I’m a football addict!

How did you come to join Blaze? 

I started with Birmingham Blaze way back in 2005 and whilst lots has changed, there still isn’t an openly gay footballer in professional football in UK. I’ve done most roles at the club, player, captain, manager and now chairperson.

Were you doing any other sports or fitness activities?

I’ve always been interested in keeping fit and other sports. I occasionally play tennis and run but football is my main passion.

“We have all ages, sizes and abilities.”

What do you love about it?

It’s a great way to keep fit and we have such a diverse and interesting group that’s it’s always fun. We have all ages, sizes and abilities.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about coming along?

There are so many ways to get involved. Feel free to come along to training or a match and see what we are about. All you need is a love for football.