First Annual Aslie Pitter MBE Trophy Celebrates Bexley Community
Bexley Invicta FC, a gay-friendly club based in London and Kent, competed Sunday May 15th for the Aslie Pitter MBE Trophy. The match against neighbouring Bexleyheath Police FC, drew a crowd of hundreds, including the Deputy Mayor of Bexley, Councillor Stephen Hall and Aslie Pitter MBE, who was recognised in January for the foundation of England’s first gay-friendly football club, Stonewall FC, twenty years ago.
Bexley Invicta is one of several newly-formed football clubs around England aimed at promoting greater accetpance and participation of the LGBT community. The club runs an open-door policy whereby anyone who wants to play football has the opportunity to do so, whether they are gay, straight, professional or inexperienced.
The founder of the club and its captain, Brian Silk, expressed how proud he was to see his team compete for the Aslie Pitter MBE Trophy. “Bexley Invicta FC would not exist without the pioneering work of Aslie and Stonewall FC, so the trophy is in recognition of our heritage and of the work that continues, including this match.”
He also spoke about the aims of Bexley Invicta FC. “Since the club started, less than four months ago, we have linked up with a range of local organisations and the local LGBT community to promote gay-friendly football as a way to extend participation in football and to combat homophobia.”
Though the result didn’t go in Bexley Invicta’s favour, with Bexley Police going home with a 3-0 victory, we at Red Card Homophobia applaud Silk and the club for their efforts in publicising and promoting the campaign against homophobia in football, as well as the local community’s engagement and support.
Bexley’s Deputy Borough Commander, Darren Williams, said, “The Aslie Pitter MBE Trophy was set up to recognise his work, but also the strong links that police have built up with the LGBT community. My officers took part in this match in their own time and it is another example of how the police at Bexley are committed to engaging with local communities.”
Silk said, “Despite the result, this was an enjoyable day for the club. The game was played in good spirit by both sides. Football is a great way of breaking down barriers and building relationships. We look forward to playing against the Bexley police side in the return match, for this trophy, next year.”
The club meets regularly for kickabouts, friendly matches, fundraisers and social activities within the community, and more information on how to get involved is available on their website: http://www.bexleyinvictafc.com/Bexley_Invicta_FC/Get_involved.html