Meet The Committee

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JAMES LALEY

Founder & Chair

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.  

 

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ADAM MURRAY

Sponsorship Officer

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.

 

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MICHELLE PARKS

Administrator 

About You

 

I work in Dublin in a corporate law firm. I'm hoping to qualify as a solicitor. Before moving to Ireland 12 years ago, I lived and worked in Gleadless Valley. I love football, music, and animals. I also cook a lot - especially homemade pies - Henderson's Relish is an essential ingredient and I bring back a suitcase full of it whenever I visit Sheffield. 

 

How long have you been a Blade?

Your favourite moment?

 

My Dad always said I was born a Blade. I started going to matches in 1994. Weekends were all about the match. I was at the Millennium Stadium when we lost to Wolves in the play-offs in 2003 and at Old Trafford in the semi-final of the FA cup against Arsenal in 2001 - that was a great day as a kid, except for being denied a goal that lost us the game in a famously contentious decision. 

 

Favourite moment - the final game of the 05/06 season against Crystal Palace. We already knew Warnock's leadership and the team had secured us promotion but knowing that the next time we sat in those seats, we were going to be in the Premiership was unbelievable. The excitement. It was the first time I would see the Blades play at top level. Not to mention the whole of the 19/20 PL season under Wilder - too many magical moments to mention!

 

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

 

I joined Rainbow Blades as soon as I found out about it. Football is for everyone and Bramall Lane is for everyone. I wanted to be part of the committee so that I could contribute to the promotion of diversity and inclusion in football. It is important to advocate for inclusion in football - a safe space for all players, club staff and for fans. Rainbow Blades can be instrumental in letting young people of all genders and sexual orientations feel welcome at Sheffield United. I'm excited to be a part of it. 

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ANNA KENT

Marketing & Communications Officer

About You


I graduated last year with a music degree from Hull and now work for an orchestra down South. Aside from that, I love football, beer and singing, and I'm a twin!


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


Forever! My dad is a united fan, and my grandad before him (both Sheffield lads) - so although I've never actually lived in the city, it's been a lifelong passion. We got our first season tickets when we were 7. I think my first memory of a match was when we beat Arsenal 1-0 in 2006 and Jags was in goal for the last half hour. Favourite moment has got to be the day we secured promotion out of league one after seven long years. We were at the lane for the beamback and it was just a total goosebumps moment.


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


There's been some progress in sport in the last few years around homophobia and inclusion, but like with racism, football still has a long way to go. I'm passionate about making the sport and team I love so much a welcoming environment for everybody.



 

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CALLUM MCKAY

Events Officer

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.