A former Premier League footballer claims his chances of playing for England were killed by rumors that he was gay.
Ian Bishop, midfielder for Manchester City from 1998 to 2001, blamed gossip that he was having an affair with former City and West Ham player Trevor Morley for not being picked to play for his country.
‘I’ve never known something so ridiculous in my life,’ said Bishop, reported the Manchester Evening News.
He added: ‘We’d been on a night out with the wives so the rumours that his wife came home and caught me and him is totally atrocious. For 10 years, I got abused.
‘We talk about it and laugh about it. It was just total garbage. What hurt me more than anything was that it affected our friendship.’
Bishop, who now lives in America, insisted his objections are not because he is homophobic.
He said: ‘It didn’t hurt me to be called it [gay], it hurt me because it affected my life.
‘In a way, it could have affected my international prospects at the time. I just thought that if that’s the way they think, then I’m not bothered anymore.’
Bishop added: ‘To go to every away ground and really get abused, I mean badly abused, and have to do your job and do it well – there was enough pressure on me to keep my place and that added to it.
‘I used to blow kisses to them and laugh and smile. At the end of the day I’m a man first and a footballer second.’