'Queen of Hearts' Justin Fashanu was never far from turmoil
FAST cars, wild parties and a tendency to get his name splattered all over the newspapers.
When Justin Fashanu joined Hearts, the club signed one of the most complex and, perhaps, tragic players of his generation.
Fashanu was not only the first 1 million black footballer, but the first professional player to publicly admit he was gay.
Fresh from a bizarre series of stories linking him to ex-Coronation Street star Julie Goodyear, he arrived from Airdrie in July 1993 to be instantly dubbed "The Queen of Hearts" by the terracing jokers.
On the pitch, red cards and aggressive play became the striker's trademark, but the arrival of another controversial figure, Mo Johnston, soon spelled the beginning of the end of his links with Tynecastle.
That Christmas he announced he'd be appearing in Channel 4's then controversial Camp Christmas, featuring gay personalities and a "Queen's Speech" from Quentin Crisp. He also announced he was to take over city bar The City Cafe in Blair Street.
However, when Fashanu failed to return for training from a trip to London, his club's patience finally snapped.
He'd been there trying to sell a newspaper a story linking him to two Conservative MPs. Within days, Tory MP Stephen Milligan was found dead in his home, prompting a police investigation into his sexual exploits and possible connections with the Hearts player.
Fashanu later admitted he had tried to make money by selling newspapers false stories claiming sex romps with Tory MPs. Manager Sandy Clark dismissed him for unprofessional conduct but Fashanu said he was a victim of homophobia within football. He quit the city, leaving a trail of debt.
In May 1998 it emerged that he was being sought by police in America in connection with an alleged sexual assault on a teenage boy. Within days, he was found dead in a London garage. He had taken his own life.
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