Leeds United's LGBT community to be celebrated in mural overlooking the A64 following other artworks commemorating Bielsa and Kalvin Phillips
A new mural on one of Leeds’ busiest roads will celebrate the LGBT contribution to the Leeds United community.
Fan group Marching Out Together and East Street Arts have commissioned the public artwork, which will be unveiled on York Road in Burmantofts overlooking the A64.
The mural follows other artworks that have sprung up around the city, including two of manager Marcelo Bielsa at Hyde Park and Oldfield Lane, and one of midfielder Kalvin Phillips on The Calls, in celebration of the club’s return to its former glories in the Premier League.
Leeds City Council is contributing £8000 towards the funding of the project through its Leeds Inspired fund, and the hunt is now underway for an artist to create the design, which will celebrate the work Marching Out Together has done to raise awareness of LGBT issues with players, staff and fans of the club.
The group plan to fundraise for the £2000 needed to finance the rest of the project, which they hope will be unveiled in August on the side of East Street Art's headquarters.
Over 43,000 drivers a day will see the mural according to Marching Out Together’s analysis.
Before the pandemic, the group had a regular attendance at Elland Road on match days to raise awareness of LGBT issues, and have worked with the club’s academy to teach young players how to tackle homophobia on and off the pitch.
The group hope their work, including the mural, will eventually encourage more involved in football to be open about their sexuality. There has never been an openly gay football player playing in the Premier League.
Mick Ward, who has led the bid process for Marching Out Together, said: “We really wanted to celebrate the positive work we’ve been doing with the club.
“Because of the grant from Leeds Inspired, we think we can recruit some top talent to be the artist.
“The really key thing is visibility. We’ve really found that out by doing things like having our flag displayed at the ground. There is a boldness in doing this.
“Hopefully one day, a player will have the confidence to come out. If in the future, there’s a gay player playing at Elland Road, the mural says something about the inclusiveness of Leeds.”
East Street Art are the collective behind Athena Rising near the city's station, which was the UK's tallest mural when it was unveiled.
Jon Wakeman, artistic director at East Street Arts, said: "We wanted to do something permanent reflecting the city having a voice for everyone.
"I've lived through the hostility and aggression of how it's been in football, and it's changed massively.
"Football has a long way to go but Leeds is a one club city, and the club is for everyone. Marching Out Together is so needed to make a difference.