In back page news, that is sure to be the talk of changing rooms, pitches, terraces and tap rooms around the country, gay footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger finally came out of the closet and admitted what home supporters and those that liked 'the other side' had long suspected...that he was in fact born in Burr-ming-um. In an exclusive interview with 'Balls4all' the former international, who retired from playing football just before signing a deal with Aston Villa, finally came clean.
“I’ve waited until this moment to announce the fact that I’m a Brummie due to the stigma attached to the condition within changing rooms across the land. It’s difficult enough to get ahead in the beautiful game without admitting something like that. Pretending to be German here in England was much easier and I’d like to think by the end of my career my Teutonic accent and robotic manner was quite convincing," he concluded.
Brummie phobia has long blighted the game with the result that only a handful of professional players have ever had the courage to come out of the closet, within which they used to dress to mask their secret identity. Back in the dark days of the 80's and late 90's bigoted fans would regularly hurl abuse at opposition players insinuating that they 'shopped at the Bull Ring' or were 'Wolves in sheep's clothing.'
In the past the authorities had always done 'F.A' to tackle the problem but now with the realisation that it might well be a game of two very different halves, progress is thankfully being made.
"People will perhaps call me brave, a trail blazer, a role model," said Hitzlsperger, "but it’s just who I am and I now hope that football fans can accept me for being a Brummie. I don't want to live a lie anymore and pretend to be someone I am not. This is the person I was born as and the rest of the world will just have to deal with it," he exclaimed displaying for the first time his Black country drawl.
"I am not ashamed," he concluded, "but proud to be able to trace my ancestry all the way back through the entire first series of 'Peaky Blinders...and for a lad from the Midlands that's real bostin!'"