‘Our community and Millwall have a lot in common,’ says the Lions’ LGBT team, which is helping to break down barriers in English sport.

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THERE are some new men at the New Den.

And Millwall’s first LGBT team became so popular they have had to set up a second.

Millwall Romans play in the London Unity League and striker John Goodyear said: “There are similarities between the LGBT community and Millwall. We are both often persecuted unfairly by outsiders.

“And while the club’s fans sing No One Likes Us, We Don’t Care, we are more Some People Don’t Like Us, They Don’t Understand.

“But we are hoping, with Millwall’s help, we can break down barriers and more people from the LGBT community can enjoy football.”

The Romans were formed as the London Romans in 2006 and played in north London before being incorporated by Millwall’s Community Trust and moving south of the river last year.

General manager Paul Loding said: “When I spoke with Sean Daly of the Millwall Community Trust, he told us he wanted the Romans to feel part of the Millwall family — and we really do.

“Before we came here we were flatlining, just an average Sunday league team playing on crappy pitches which cost a lot of money.

“Within a year we have now two teams playing on a Sunday, on a better home pitch with better facilities.

“One of our players even took part in Millwall’s official kit launch in the summer.”

The Lions have kitted out the Romans in official club kit and tracksuits.

Bisexual Goodyear said: “It’s strange walking to training and matches and having people driving past shout out at us ‘Millwall’.

“Builders and workmen who possibly wouldn’t back an LGBT team are now shouting out their support to us, even if they might not know it.”

Romans drew 1-1 with neighbours Charlton in a league clash two weeks ago.

Loding said: “I think if you came along to our matches you wouldn’t  necessarily be able to see they were two LGBT teams.

We just don’t give out any homophobic abuse — although you will still hear plenty of people being called ‘w*****s’, ‘p****s’ and ‘d***heads

“The football is as aggressive as you will see in any park in the country on a Sunday morning and so is the language.

“We just don’t give out any homophobic abuse — although you will still hear plenty of people being called ‘w*****s’, ‘p****s’ and ‘d***heads’.”

While the Unity League is thriving, the English professional game is still awaiting its first openly gay player.

Sadly, Loding, 38, believes that is something which is still a decade off happening — after the torment he went through when coming out to his family and friends.

He said: “I met my now-husband Gareth when I was 21 but I grew up… Brinkwire Brief News.

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