Thirst-Trapping, Self-Described 'Typical Alpha Male Footballer' Matt Morton Comes Out at 30

Tuesday October 20, 2020

Matt Morton described himself as "a typical alpha-male footballer" in an interview with the British sports site SkySports. But two years ago, the 30-year old player/manager of the non-league team Thetford Town had a revelation: he discovered he was sexually attracted to men.

"It felt very surreal to me, but at the same time it felt very natural," he said.

He had dated women throughout his twenties that he described as "unremarkable," instead he focused on his football career. "I didn't have that Disney romance at any point with any of the girls that I dated and therefore everything else around me became more important," he explains. "All of my time went into football, work and friends, and therefore there was no time left. That was a good excuse for me growing up."

His interview coincided with "National Coming Out Day," that took place on October 11. It did, though, some time for Morton to come forward.

"Having come out to himself, it took a few months before he felt ready to share his truth with another person, who happened to be his PA - "it felt safer because she worked for me, and it was one step removed from everyone else." Then came the day when he told his best mate, and the day when he let his other close friends know, then his siblings, his parents, his football teams (he plays in a Sunday league too), his Instagram followers last summer, the readership of his local newspaper for an interview a few months ago, and now, with a Sky Sports audience."

He also says that he enjoys the contradiction between being an alpha male footballer and being gay. "If you saw me walking out onto the pitch, and then saw me play, maybe I'm not what you'd expect! I'm combative, let's put it that way." He might not be skillful but coming out will have wrong-footed many of those he knows through football. "People look at that and think, 'oh... OK.' None of it fits, which forces people out of their preconceived ideas of what a gay person is, and what an old-school footballer is."

While his brother and sister told him they suspected he might be gay and supported him immediately, his father and role model — a former top-flight referee who went on to become a referees' assessor — was less so. "It didn't come from a place of hatred; it came from a place of ignorance. I can only imagine that for my dad - for a short period of time - it was like a little part of his world fell apart."

They didn't speak for a few weeks, but they reconciled. "It's important to say that he's always been fine with any gay people he's met. It's just that when it's your own son telling you after however many years... I felt that he was disappointed in me. He looked at me in a different way - but that got resolved really quickly."

His mom — a devout Christian — also had difficulties with his coming out. "Yet the family unit remains tight, and he feels fortunate. He's also recognized a positive change in his own temperament. "I've had very good parents, a good family life, so there's no sob story with me at all. But I've always had a short fuse," he told Sky Sports.

It took a year after he told family and friends he is gay to go public on Instagram. "Everyone was saying to me that you don't need to announce it or explain yourself. I'm aware of that, but I wanted to own it, and say, 'this is me, this is what I've realized'. It's a lot better than it was 10 years ago, but there still needs to be activation around understanding, and events like Pride, because there's still a long way to go."

He is also happy that his football peers would see him differently were dashed once he went public. "I thought there was a chance of that - I just wasn't concerned about it any longer. And I'm pleased to say that nobody's treated me differently.

"What's also important I think is not to treat yourself any differently, otherwise people walk on eggshells and you don't want that either. You want everything to be as it was before and for me, it absolutely is."

What prompted his coming out was watching the film "Love, Simon" and traveling to Miami with a man he was dating last year. "Having spent a fortnight together in Florida just being out and comfortable, he didn't want to go back into the closet on his return to Bury St. Edmunds. 'The holiday was almost like a catalyst. We were talking about whether we were actually going to move in together down here which can't happen unless clearly, I address it, and that's what I did.'"

Check out more thirst-trapping pics from Morton's Instagram: