When it comes to punching above your weight, Altrincham FC have set the standard for almost a century. This is a club after all that is synonymous with giant-killings, having pulled off more FA Cup upsets of Football League sides than any other exclusively non-league team – dating all the way back to a win against Tranmere in 1921.
On FA Cup fifth-round weekend this year though, Altrincham will be making an altogether different kind of history – and attempting to help defeat an even more intractable foe: homophobia.
For the last couple of years, sixth-tier Greater Manchester-based Altrincham have led the way in inclusion and diversity, and on Saturday they will swap their usual red and white home kit for a rainbow-coloured strip based on the LGBT pride flag. The kit celebrates Football v Homophobia month and demonstrates the club’s solidarity with the LGBT community. It is an unprecedented step for a British club, and means that for a couple of hours this afternoon an otherwise unremarkable sixth-tier Vanarama National League North match against Bradford Park Avenue will become the centre of sport’s fight for equality. After the game, the shirts will be auctioned, with the profits going to Manchester-based LGBT youth organisation The Proud Trust.