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15th Feb, 2023

Making West Brom Proud

Proud Baggies are the official LGBTQ+ fan group of West Bromwich Albion. Set up in 2017, they’ve gone from strength to strength and are a shining example of how fans can help make football a more inclusive game. We spoke to Proud Baggies member Neil to find out more.

I remember seeing a callout on Twitter asking if anyone would be willing to get involved with a West Brom LGBTQ+ fan group. That’s how I first got involved – I answered the call!

And from the start we always saw ourselves as more than just a fan group.

So as well as the events and activities we run with the club, we also became the club’s point of contact when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues.

And the club have been massively supportive of us in return.

We’ve worked with the club to deliver LGBTQ+ awareness training with their staff, their academy players and the coaching team as well.

We’ve also come together to celebrate Football Versus Homophobia’s Month of Action, Rainbow Laces, and Pride Month.

But more than that, we’ve developed initiatives like The 1968 Club (1968 was the year West Brom last won the FA Cup), which pairs up older LGBTQ+ fans who might not have anyone to go with.

And recently we’ve set up inclusive 5-a-side football games every Friday to help encourage LGBTQ+ people back into playing sport.

Football isn’t always the most welcoming environment, but these Friday sessions are a friendly and inclusive place where people can just play football and have fun without judgement.

Every time I talk to anyone who goes to the sessions I just see so much positivity. It’s absolutely heart-warming – and we even had West Brom legend Chris Brunt join us one week!

Chris Brunt attending Proud Baggies 5-a-side

If you’re thinking of setting up an LGBTQ+ fan group for your club then absolutely do it.

My advice would be to start small. Get on social media. Reach out to the club. And then sit down and decide what it is you want to achieve.

We had great support through Fans For Diversity [the initiative set up by Kick It Out and the Football Supporters Association] when we first set up the group.

They gave us some funding to get going, and we used that to create t-shirts, flags and scarves.

It’s a great place to start, and other organisations like Pride In Football can also give you some advice for getting your fan group off the ground.


Would I still be at the football without Proud Baggies? Of course.

But has it changed my whole experience of the game? 100%. I just find it so much more enjoyable now.