Did Saudi-bound Jordan Henderson become an LGBT+ ally by mistake?

Editor F365
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson wearing the rainbow armband.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson wearing the rainbow armband.

The Mailbox wonders if Jordan Henderson ever intended to be viewed as an LGBT+ ally. Also: Jonny Evans back at Man Utd; and Arsenal’s ‘future classic’ kit…

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com

Did Henderson ask for any of this?
Back when Game of Thrones was still current, Daenerys Targaryen was being celebrated as a feminist icon. Fans were getting Daenerys tattoos. Fans were naming their newborn daughters Daenerys/Khaleesi. But then Season 8 happened and it was terrible.

But beyond that, these fans especially were upset because their hero had been turned into a villain. It is very easy to sympathize with them and understand exactly where they are coming from. Yet on the other hand, I’m not sure how much the people behind Game of Thrones were responsible for that celebration as a feminist icon. They definitely weren’t responsible for the tattoos and baby names. Which brings me to Jordan Henderson…

Genuine non-rhetorical question: did Jordan Henderson really represent himself as/set himself up to be seen as an LGBTQ+ ally, like some sort of footballing Lady Gaga? I know that Jordan Henderson was supportive of initiatives like rainbow laces and armbands, I know he posted a supportive message on Twitter once.

But if that is the extent of it, isn’t it less a case of Jordan Henderson being an LGBTQ+ ally, and more the case of Jordan Henderson being a nice guy doing the right things when the opportunity arose?

I don’t think we are heading in the right direction if we are going to more harshly judge someone definitively for something (in this case, moving to a Saudi club) because they usually do nice things, than we would otherwise be judging someone for doing the same thing (let’s use Bobby Firmino as the example here).

Again, if Henderson has played up his allyship and I missed it, please inform me, I am not here to confidently make a rhetorical point, this is something I’m genuinely wondering about.

Final thought is that I’m not defending Jordan Henderson overall, nor am I defending any of the other Liverpool players who have moved/will move to Saudi. I think they’re all being greedy idiots and I wish it wasn’t happening. I’m just wondering whether this is actually fair to be seen as hypocrisy.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


…Re Hendo, Ronaldo and every other “do” out there going for the money. It’s ok, you honestly don’t owe anybody, anything. If someone is willing to pay half a milli to see Hendo kick a pig skin around, Go get your money Hendo.

Main issue here is, he is playing both sides. When it was convenient for him to advocate for the LGBTQ , he took leadership and vehemently advocated for their rights. All of a sudden , at the death of his career, he chooses to put all his moral standing aside and go get that paper. I don’t think he was poorly paid at Liverpool, I do believe he was well compensated.

It’s ok to be in it for the money, but it’s kinda cruel to drag a cause (LGBTQ rights), along so you get more money and endorsements. Some things are bigger than an individual, so unless you ‘re truly invested, step aside. It’s quite ok. He didn’t have to insert himself to that cause, nobody forced him. He could have simply, sat that one out.

I hope he is as good on camera as he was a player, and hope the Saudi money covers up the boat/ heli/ private aircraft loan he has because any take he offers, I’ll never take seriously.

We really should stop looking at footballers , or athletes as role models, they are all thick as f**k. Admire what they do, but they are probably lacking in some other area. Stop calling them out as role models.
Dave(I’ll gladly take that 10k loan Hendo), Somewhere


No one’s perfect. Except Hector Bellerin
I think the Jordan Henderson furore has come about because all of us have started tying things together that never should have been attached.

Jordan Henderson is doing what he thinks is right for his life, and his family, as is his right as a human being. He has been a staunch ally in the past to marginalised groups, but in this instance, he has done what is best for his family. This has caused ire in parties who thought he was an ally. Has he become a massive homophobe overnight? No. He’s been mildly hypocritical based on previous things said. We’ve all done that.

In fact, we should all take a breath, considering almost 50% of all British homosexuals have suffered some sort of physical or verbal assault in this country. We aren’t pure as the driven snow as a society.

Next, sociopolitical issues are probably best not discussed at a football match, or post match either. I’m sure many mailboxers would agree with me that the mailbox can get distinctly less fun when debating complicated moral issues. I appreciate that footballers have a huge reach, and can influence for the better, but should that be their responsibility?

No, it should be the Governments, to improve the lives of marginalised groups through legislation. Jordan was never going to be the one to cure homophobia or bigotry, so why should he be held to a higher moral standard than the rest of us?

I find it strange that football is seen as any sort of moral bastion, with how cut throat and ruthless it is to young players, the fact it is in thrall to money, oligarchs etc, there is no morality there, only money, and money corrupts everything.

Look, we all want to be Hector Bellerin, we all want to be right on, morally correct all the time, but that’s next to impossible. Especially with how we talk to one another. It is all adversarial and we’ve conflated our opinions to our identity, and we think those don’t change, when they do. If I were Jordan, I’d turn off my socials, move to the middle east, pick up your hundred million, and leave others to debate the morality of your actions. Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has them and usually they’re full of sh*t. Mine included!
John Matrix AFC


Good Evans
Not much to say except that I’m absolutely delighted that Man Utd have given a contract to Jonny Evans. Not because he’s an amazing defender – though I think he’s generally underrated – but because he’s one of ours who we should never have sold in the first place. Especially when we kept Jones on in his place.

The way De Gea left the club has left a dirty, dirty taste in my mouth, and I hope that going forward we can do better by players. Helping out Evans is a step in the right direction.
Daniel, Cambridge


New bruised banana
What are people’s thoughts on Arsenal’s away shirt?

Personally, I think Adidas have done it again.

They’re at their best when they put out shirts that genuinely challenge you as opposed to the derivative designs the home shirt has to put up with.

For me, this one is like bruised banana back in their day. I initially hated it but the more I look at it, the more I see a future design classic.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

Arsenal line up against MLS All Stars

The incredible Chelsea exodus
It’s hardly a secret but with Aubameyang now having left Chelsea I recon you could now make out a pretty good team of full internationals out of players that have left Chelsea this season including a couple of substitutes.

And before all the cry-babies start, I know Felix and Zakaria were only ever there on loan and some of the players that have left spent more time on loan at other clubs than playing for Chelsea.
However, by my calculations I reckon that 650 international caps that have walked out of the Stanford Bridge in this transfer window.

I know this team is not exactly balanced and very light at the back (not sure who the wing backs would be in the 3-5-2 formation!) but this is a plausible team that at the start of last season you could have said should finish in the top half of the table and maybe challenge for a European place (assuming they all stayed fit and every other team was also limited to a squad of 13, hmm my argument is losing some credibility fast!).

I’ve also added the ages in as I kinda just assumed it was mostly old players that had left but there’s only 4 outfield players over 30, the other crazy thing is that there is still 6 weeks left of the transfer window hence I’ll update this team when the window does close.

GK – Edouard Mendy – age 31 – 29 caps Senegal
Defender – Kalidou Koulibaly 32 – 71 caps Senegal
Defender – Cesar Azpillcueta – 33 – 45 caps Spain
Defender – Ethan Ampadu – 22 – 44 caps Wales
Midfielder – N’Golo Kante – 32 – 52 caps France
Midfielder – Mateo Kovacic – 29 – 95 caps Croatia
Midfielder – Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 27 – 10 caps England
Midfielder – Mason Mount – 24 – 36 caps England
Midfielder – Christian Pulisic – 24 – 60 caps USA
Forward – Aubameyang – 34 – 73 caps Gabon
Forward – Kai Havetz – 24 – 37 caps Germany
Forward – Joao Felix – 23 – 31 caps Portugal

Midfielder – Tiemoue Bakayoko – 28 – 1 cap France
Midfielder – Denis Zakaria – 26 – 49 caps Switzerland
Paul K, London
Why Saudi mission will fail
We have long known that to succeed winning the PL, you need a squad with depth.
To win the CL, you need a squad with depth.

This is both to cover for injuries, loss of form, but also to promote competition, and keep standards high.

How long before some players get frustrated that they’re in a league that has no real history to it? That has not much quality in the starting XI, let alone in squads? How long before the players know they’ll be picked no matter what, and thus, don’t need to push themselves?

Do people really think Benzema, Mahrez and Co are going to play and push themselves as they did for the CL and PL?

To reach optimum heights, you need optimum skill and optimum effort. Money buys a lot of things, but it cannot purchase passion.

Read more: Ranking the TNT Sports punditry team from the dull Michael Owen to effervescent Joe Cole


Owen’s other fan
Well, Lee, child of the ’90s, that was awesome.

I turned 11 just after World Cup 98, and concur, Owen was just incredible, thinking that he was only 7 yeas older than me, and already a superstar, was utterly mind-blowing to me.

I remember obsessively playing FIFA 98 and 99 and Owen was a shoe-in at all times, even though I felt strongly that his stats hadn’t caught up to his real life ability.

Ah, good times.

I also vivildy remember THAT goal against Argentina, Roa had no chance and I was in awe.
Manc from SA (few other players captured the imagination as Owen did around ’98, the sky was the limit.)