Please click the button here to download a pdf copy of the notes (including the artist’s digital rendition of the artwork used as a guide during painting) or scroll the details below.
Our mural artwork is the design of international street artist Jay Gilleard (aka CBloxx, who with Nomad Clan produced the spectacular Athena Rising mural above Leeds City Station) and was devised after discussions with members of Marching Out Together and other key stakeholders.
The broad concept of the mural is to proudly assert the fact that LGBT+ fans are part of LUFC and football in general, just as we are across the community, in workplaces, education, in any leisure setting and throughout society.
Our members met with CBloxx and we talked about the ‘Marching On Together’ club anthem and our group name, the community and fellowship of being a fan, and what the group means to our members in a context where being LGBTQ+ in football is often unseen.
We were clear that we were looking for something which communicated that, and was more than a football with a rainbow over it! The artist has not only taken all of that on board, but responded to our feedback on early concepts, and have done their own research into the history and identity of the club. The design is dramatic, distinctive, and proudly positions us within the club, our wider community and is an outstanding addition to the fabulous LUFC street-art around the city.
We are thrilled at the design, and proud of the landmark this will give the city. It makes a bold statement about the bond between Leeds United and the club’s LGBTQ+ fans, and builds on that crucial visibility for the LGBTQ+ community across the city and beyond.
We would like to put on record our deep appreciation for CBloxx’s work: this is a breathtaking piece of art, the technical execution has been fascinating to observe, and they have created something which perfectly captures what we wanted to achieve, both as a landmark for the city and for the values it represents.
Artist CBloxx comments
“This was quite a challenging brief. I had looked at the many fantastic murals of players and characters around the city but this work needed something more layered.
“Talking to the Marching Out members I was really struck not only by their love of football and passion for Leeds Utd, but also the sense of family, community and belonging they had – of being Leeds Utd together, and how much they value the group. I also wanted to capture a sense of LGBTQ+ fans in a context of social movements, resilience and visibility.
“I am delighted that they can see that along with the history of Leeds Utd and the pride they take in their club.”
The creative concept and approach
Key elements of the design which can be seen in the artwork are:-
• The backdrop to the design is a traditional banner bearing the Marching Out Together group name, which was coined by the group’s co-founders and refers to the famous club anthem ‘Marching On Together’. This reinforces the fact that many LGBT+ people are – and have every right to be – LUFC supporters together with all fans.
• Banners, flags and raised scarves are a familiar part of the fans’ matchday experience. The banner motif is also reminiscent of trades unions’ marching banners, suffragette or protest movements and reflects the community, fellowship and mutual support of both the wider community of football supporters and the ‘Marching Out’ group itself.
• The colour palette is based on the LUFC white/blue/yellow/gold used in the traditional kits and badge. It also features elements of a rainbow which is a recognised symbol for the LGBTQ+ community and rendered in a prismic style which is more sophisticated than the ‘cartoon’ rainbow often seen in Pride emblems (and more recently appropriated in support of the NHS).
• The centrepiece of the banner is a peacock. ‘The Peacocks’ was the nickname of Leeds City FC and subsequently Leeds United FC after its establishment in 1919. This originated from the playing fields which became Elland Road stadium and took their name from the pub there which is still a favourite of fans on matchdays (currently renamed ‘The Bielsa’ in honour of the much-loved manager who engineered LUFC’s return to the Premier League). The occasional flamboyance of peacocks, and the expression ‘Proud as a peacock’ also resonate with the LGBTQ+ community.
• From its position high above the A64 York Road in Burmantofts the peacock’s head is turned sightly to its right, looking south-west across the city towards Elland Road. Beneath that gaze are the many and diverse communities which are at the heart of the wonderful and colourful modern city that is Leeds; and within each of those – including supporters of Leeds United – are LGBTQ+ people.
• The subtitle below the peacock reads “We are so proud” which will be recognised by all fans as a key line in the ‘Marching On Together’ anthem. The emphasis here links with the ‘Pride’ movement and stresses that LGBTQ+ fans share the same love of the game and the club as all fans do, and that they should be welcomed and accepted and free to be themselves at Elland Road and when following the team elsewhere.
• Some of the peacock’s feather tips are adorned with LUFC club badges from different times, as well as the Marching Out Together logo which is itself based on a rainbow version of a famous ‘smiley’ shirt badge from the 1970s.
• The mural is completed at its base with logos of the key stakeholders:-
Marching Out Together
Leeds United AFC
East Street Arts and
LCC ‘Leeds Inspired’