James Laley

Founder / Chair

  • Twitter

About You

I work at Sheffield Hallam University and am the main organiser of Sheffield Rainbow Laces. I’ve lived in Sheffield for over 15 years now and have 3 awesome God children. I also love Real Ales and all Wine. Some people think it’s gross, but my favourite cocktail is a Bloody Mary.

How long have you been a Blade? Your favourite moment?

I have been a Blade since 2008, so I guess to quite a few that makes me a newbie. However, I could not see myself with any other club. Sheffield United through and through. I guess my favourite moment would have to be what made me see the red and white light, the day I became a Blade. It was during the Steel City Derby of 2008, my first time to Bramall Lane and to a football match. I was stood in the Kop with one of my best mates and the reaction and atmosphere when James Beattie scored his free kick to level us up 2-2 was something else.    

Why you wanted to join Rainbow Blades, and be part of the committee?

I founded Rainbow Blades because anyone who is a Blade, no matter your Sexual or Gender Identity or any other protected characteristic, should be able to support Sheffield United, enjoy football as a fan, player or coach without any fear of discrimination. I want all fans to be welcome at Bramall Lane. I want Sheffield United to be a fully inclusive football club and shout about it.  


Adam Murray


  • Twitter

About You

I am Owner and Managing Director of Urbana Town Planning. Urbana is a town planning consultancy based in Sheffield & London and working nationwide. Before anything, we are born of a passion for the built environment and the way cities work. Our mission is to provide exceptional design-led planning expertise.
On a more personal level I live in Ranmoor with my fiancé Alex, who is an architect. So cities are our passion!

How long have you been a Blade? Your favourite moment?

I have been a Blade all my life and a season ticket for most. Currently I have a season ticket in the south stand, and also have a corporate sponsorship through Urbana. My favourite moments are many, but unsurprisingly many are now recent, thanks to Mr Wilder. Best has to go to a dinner I was invited to at Cutlers Hall where I was sat next to Chris Wilder. We chatted everything Blades all through dinner, simply amazing. Match wise, sponsoring the Manchester United 3-3 match last season would take some beating.

Why you wanted to join Rainbow Blades, and be part of the committee?

I want to be on this committee to ensure that we take football kicking and screaming into the 21st century on this issue. Inclusivity of all is key, and how we achieve that is through talking and accepting difference. This is a real chance to show LGBT+ youngsters that they have a place in football. It’s also a chance to fight against the advice of agents and others, whom are encouraging players to stay ‘in the closet’ when players coming out would change this conversation altogether.


Callum Mckay


  • Twitter

About You

Hi I'm Callum I am really excited to take on the role as Events Officer for Rainbow Blades. I grew up in a very rugby orientated family near Edinburgh but really started following football when I moved to Glasgow. I've recently moved to Sheffield for a new job at one of the steelworks and I am enjoying settling into the city.

How long have you been a Blade? Your favourite moment?

I started following the Blades as my 'English team' in 2013. While my friends seemed to have chosen teams like Arsenal or Chelsea, I started watching United.
It's been great following the team's

rise from league one and our brilliant first season back in the prem. Having been to a few games before moving here, I can't wait to get more involved.

Why you wanted to join Rainbow Blades, and be part of the committee?

I joined Rainbow Blades as a way to meet likeminded supporters. I personally was keen to be part of the committee to help make the group a success and make a difference. I've been part of rainbow laces campaigns before and know why groups like ours are so important. Sport is for everybody, going to a football match is no different. No one should feel like they aren't welcome because of who they are. Through Rainbow Blades we can show that we are a club open to all.


Sam Whittaker

Social Media Officer

About You

I currently work at Sheffield Hallam University in the Careers Service and I have worked in a variety of areas, from Sales, to Lighting Design and now Higher Education. I’m a vegetarian who loves animals and in my spare time I enjoy running and raising money for charity, with my biggest achievement being the completion of the London Marathon in 2019. I’m a huge sports fan, with my favourites being football (always number one on the list), boxing, cricket and MMA.

How long have you been a Blade? Your favourite moment?

I’ve been a Blade since I was old enough to know what it meant to support a football club. I grew up in Sheffield and I’ve always loved football; my family are all passionate Sheffield United fans and I’m up there with them when it comes to my love for the club. I’m slightly showing my age here, but my first game was back in 2002 against Wimbledon and I still remember Carl Asaba equalising on the 90th minute as if it was yesterday. My favourite moment as a Blade was the 3-2 win against Chesterfield on the final day of our League One title winning campaign. I loved the way that we kept pushing after securing promotion and the desire that we showed to win that game when the job was ultimately already done summed up that team. Watching Billy Sharp lift the trophy and sensing that the club was back on the up was emotional after the tough times which we all witnessed prior to Chris Wilder being appointed. 

Why you wanted to join Rainbow Blades, and be part of the committee?

I’m a real believer in equality and in treating people with respect. I’m extremely excited to be part of a committee that actively promotes inclusion and diversity in football; football, and sport more generally in this country, has a serious problem with homophobia and abuse at all age and ability levels, but groups like Rainbow Blades are at the forefront of positive change. I want football to become a more inclusive sport where everyone feels safe and welcome to participate and I know that Rainbow Blades share that vision.

Past Committee Members


Anna Kent

Vice Chair and Marketing & Communications

August 2020 - April 2022


Michelle Parks


November 2020 - June 2022

Meet The Committee

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SheffLaces is the home of Sheffield Rainbow Laces and Rainbow Blades