Town defender on making football for everyone
- Tommy Elphick proud to be Terriers Together Ambassador
- Town defender discusses the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion
- Interview first seen in Town’s match day programme, The Terrier
Huddersfield Town defender Tommy Elphick is the First Team’s Terriers Together Ambassador, a role that he is incredibly proud to have taken on.
In an exclusive interview first seen in Town’s match day programme, ‘The Terrier’, he discusses how important equality, diversity and inclusion are in football.
“It’s massively important. If you look back at football historically there was a stigma attached to it – it was a man’s game and you had to be macho to play.
“In the dressing room people were puffing their chests out and it wasn’t anywhere near as open to people being different as it is now.
“Whether it’s a hairstyle, the colour of someone’s skin, their sexuality – it’s so important that we’re educated in the right way and we speak about it openly so that people don’t fear coming to work or coming to watch something that they love to watch.”
The defender was born in Brighton, a town renowned for its diversity.
“I’m well aware of people growing up in a different way,” Tommy admitted.
“Brighton’s a very diverse place and it is a very accepting place and an open place for people to be comfortable.
“If they want to dress differently, they’re open to it, so I’ve grown up around that and Brighton as a football club were extraordinary with the Rainbow Campaign and the Laces Campaign that we do every year.”
Tommy had first-hand experience of equality, diversion and inclusion when he played at AFC Bournemouth, when the Club Photographer came out as transgender.
“It was a challenge at the time for a lot of lads to see someone change like that, but very quickly everyone was open to it and welcomed that person into our community again as who they wanted to be.
“Over a period of time we could see changes and as soon as Steve approached the group, which he did very openly, and told us all about his battles and depression and anxiety and the way he felt, the group was just superb with who was now Sophie.
“It didn’t change the way we saw her, and it didn’t change the way we operated – we were just inclusive and tried to be as understanding as possible and help make her transition run smoothly.
“It’s something that we are all proud to have done.”
As we continue to progress, there’s an honest belief that football is for everyone, a phrase that Tommy agrees with.
“100%. If it’s not it’s quite sad really.
“We see issues that are still cropping up – racism and homophobia and discrimination – and it’s not on.
“I really do believe the game’s made strides in that sense and I think the more people that are open and honest and not afraid to talk about it, the better chance we’ve got of improving it going forward.
“I think the more we’re educated on it and the more we speak about it and the more we promote it, it can help people who perhaps don’t feel comfortable get more comfortable with it and give them the confidence to come and do something that they love to do.”
To find out more about the Terriers Together initiative, CLICK HERE!