In January 2024, Manchester City’s LGBTQ+ Official Supporters Club, Canal Street Blues LGBTQ+, celebrated their 10th anniversary.

Since its formation as one of the first of its kind, the group have amassed over 100 members and provided a community for all.

Brought together by their love for the Club, CSB continually partake in pre and post-match meetups in Ancoats and on Canal Street, travel up and down the country supporting Pep Guardiola’s side and arrange fantastic events across the calendar year. 

As part of our LGBTQ+ history month celebration, two of Canal Street Blues’ founding members – Kevin Parker and John Bridges - share their highlights from the past 10 years.


As Manuel Pellegrini’s City side recorded four straight league wins in January 2014 and relentlessly pursued the Premier League crown, conversations were beginning about setting up an official LGBTQ+ Supporters Club.

And Kevin Parker explained how he was presented with the idea and his feelings about helping form Canal Street Blues.

“I remember it quite well. I was contacted by a couple of chaps, one called John Bridges and one called John Browne,” he explained.

“They contacted me and asked if they could come and talk about opening an LGBTQ+ supporters club branch. I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community and strangely enough at the time I lived on Canal Street.

“It was a little bit odd to get that request because it’s not one we’d had before. It sort of came out of the blue so they came to visit me at my apartment on Canal Street and sat down and talked about it.

“Actually, it was quite refreshing that we had a couple of people who had spoken to other City fans about opening the Canal Street Blues.

“It was something we were going to go for and the one thing we weren’t sure of the time was the reaction we would get for opening Canal Street Blues.

“As it turned out, it was very positive. In a nice positive way, it was just another branch of the [Official] Supporters Club.”

From conversations between friends to what CSB is now, John Bridges explains how their first step was to create a social media page.

He added: “John Browne and I met in one of the bars in Canal Street and we talked over the idea. I set up the Facebook group and we sort of got the ball rolling from that.

“I think it was January 2014, but we’d been talking about it for a few years me, John and one or two other people who I happened to know were both gay and City fans.

“We were always too busy and didn’t know how to do it and we weren’t quite sure the way forward. We decided to meet up.

“I thought to set up a Facebook group and at least we were talking to each other then and we’ll see where it goes.

“I think it was John [Browne] in conversation with Kevin who probably established the link with being a full supporters club.

“Weirdly just setting the Facebook group up took about 10 minutes. Look where it’s gone from there!”


Since CSB’s formation, the group have built strong connections with the Club and collaborated on a number of projects including the Rainbow Laces initiative.

Throughout their tireless work, Kevin says City have been ‘wonderful’ with their help and support.

He continued: “The thing that pleases us the most I think is the relationship we’ve built with City around things like Pride, Football vs Homophobia and rainbow lases.”

“The Club have been absolutely brilliant since we formed. The relationship we built and we still meet up with Club in the years since we were formed around Pride.

“In terms of raising the flag at the stadium over the pride weekend. The work the Club do inside the stadium, the banners that go round the stadium with the rainbow flag on.

“On the big screen, in the programme, the Club have been absolutely wonderful. There’s never been one thing that we felt anything negative from the Club about being an LGBTQ+ branch.”

A staple of the Etihad Stadium matchday experience is seeing the flags of supporters clubs beamed on the electronic boards throughout games.

For John, seeing Canal Street Blues’ among those for the first time was an immense source of pride.

John added: “Just to see among the electric club flags going around the first tier, when I first saw our flag as part of the supporters club flags on there, I thought ‘wow’.

“I thought it probably would come at some point, but it was such a proud moment and also the rainbow laces, players wearing the t-shirts before games. All of that stuff has been brilliant.

“Working with the Club has been brilliant.”


The unwavering support for City from Canal Street Blues members came before the formation of the branch.

But John expressed how the community has expanded his sky blue family as a result.

He said: “It’s provided us with a whole new group of friends and provided us another reason to be a mad keen City fan.

“Just a different way to look at things as well. You tend to have your own mates to sit with at the match, but now I have another network of people I talk to around the game as well.

“It’s just widening my City family.”

Throughout the 10 years since CSB’s formation, Kevin highlighted the development of the community and how it’s been able to support LGBTQ+ members on their individual journeys.

He declared: “I think the great thing is, going back to when it first started, it was about forming an LGBTQ+ supporters group.

“It’s not about that anymore, we’re very proud of the fact and we changed our name a few years back from Canal Street Blues to Canal Street Blues LGBTQ+ because we wanted to get it out there of how proud we were about the fact we have an LGBTQ+ supporters club and our relationship with the OSC and the Football Club.

“It turned into another supporters club with people who, part of that group, are part of the community.

“I’m sure there are other branches who have members of the LGBTQ+ community in as well. We’ve just turned into a thriving branch of the Manchester City Supporters Club.

“And the LGBTQ+ part is an important part of it, but it’s not just what it’s about.

“We’ve got 137 members of the supporters club now who have all come from different parts of the community, not just LGBTQ+ because we’ve got friends and family of that community.

“It’s probably fair to say I’ve been out for 20 years or so.

“I think it came as a little bit of a surprise as well, not only did we form the branch and it sort of allowed me to identify even within the supporters club to identify as a gay man when people previously probably weren’t aware of that.

“Not only was it just another branch of the supporters club, but it did help some people make that journey from not being to being out part of that and help them quite a lot I think.”


As Manchester City welcomed the illustrious Pep Guardiola era in the summer of 2016 and went on to win a staggering 16 major honours so far, CSB has been there every step of the way.

Travelling home and away in England, while attending matches across the globe, the supporters club has represented both LGBTQ+ fans and City supporters in general.

And Kevin believes the social element of the branch is one of the most important aspects.

He said: “We’ve got people we’ve met along the way at home and away games who like what we’re about, like the atmosphere.

“There’s a great social element to the branch certainly on matchdays before and after the game.

“On non matchdays we’ll meet up with people who aren’t travelling to away games, we’ll meet up and watch the games in a bar or in somebodies house.

“A lot of the time we met in my apartment I had on Canal Street and it was brilliant. I remember watching the Champions League semi-final against PSG and that was an amazing night.

“It was absolutely incredible and then after the game everybody spilled out into the streets that was one of our best nights.

“There were no thoughts in the room that night about us being LGBTQ+ it was just about us being a group of City fans who were having the time of our lives.

“I think, yes one is the relationship we’ve built with the Club over Pride but also secondly the great relationship we’ve built with each other.

“Every member of Canal Street Blues irrespective of what there orientation might be. It’s brilliant. Matchdays meeting before and after the game, away days are great meeting as a group to watch, chat and put the football world to rights.

“It’s been brilliant to be honest with you.”

When City suffered Champions League final heartbreak to Chelsea in a 1-0 defeat in Porto in 2021, members of Canal Street Blues were there to support the team and proudly represent the branch.

They were also there again in 2023 when Rodrigo’s iconic goal was enough to beat Inter 1-0 in the showpiece in Istanbul.

Both, however, were fantastic experiences John explained.

He added: “On a personal level when a whole group of us ended up on an away trip to Madrid in 2020 when we beat them [was a standout moment].

“We were in Plaza del Dos de Mayo and that was just such a great, enjoyable day. I was also in Istanbul [for the Champions League final]

“And [although] we lost to Chelsea in Porto [two years before], the time spent there were a great couple of days  [regardless of the result].”


For more information on Canal Street Blues LGBTQ+, including an application submission, please click the link below.