TOP clubs have been encouraged to follow the example of Altrincham after they wore a rainbow coloured kit in a competitive fixture in support of football’s fight against homophobia.

In a move the club say is the first of its kind, the National League North side’s usual red and white stripes were replaced with the colours of the LGBT pride flag for their fixture at home to Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday.

The kit features the logo of Football v Homophobia and has attracted global attention.

“It’s fantastic for us and has had amazing support,” campaign director Lou Englefield said.

“You could not believe the debate and talk it’s caused across the world.

“Obviously it’s also been met with some homophobic and derogatory comments on social media over the past week too, but that happens when people stick their heads over the parapet and Altrincham have done that today.”

Ms Englefield said other non-league clubs have contacted the campaign about making similar statements of support, but she would also like to see clubs from the top end of English football taking part.

“It would be amazing to see one of the big clubs to follow Altrincham’s lead,” she said. “Let’s get that message out as far and as wide as possible.

“But to be fair the coverage Altrincham have had has reached Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America, it’s been amazing.”

Before the game kicked off, Altrincham chairman Bill Waterson told the club’s website: “We believe it will be the first time anywhere in the world that a senior football club has worn a kit solely modelled on the LGBT Pride Flag.

“And Altrincham will, therefore, be creating a small moment of football history.”

The match at the J Davidson Stadium ended 1-1, with Altrincham midfielder Josh Hancock’s first-half finish cancelled out by a scrambled late equaliser from the visitor’s Danny East.

After the game the rainbow-coloured kits are set to be auctioned, with all proceeds going to the Proud Trust, an LGBT youth charity.

Mr Waterson said: "The level of interest generated by our initiative was like a media blitz, and it really did put Altrincham FC firmly on the map.

"I never imagined we would grab the headlines to such an extent, and thus be able to support Football v Homophobia in such a visible way.

"That, after all, was the aim, and it was very gratifying to see it succeed in a way that exceeded our expectations. Jordan Tyms, our inclusion and diversity officer, who led this campaign, did a stellar job in garnering such a great deal of positive exposure for our club and making us a lot of new friends in the process.

"A Government minister, a Mayor and a Chief Constable is not a bad haul of dignitaries, and a significant uplift to the expected attendance, with a gate of 1,328 on the day, shows we attracted the neutrals, too.

"We showed very clearly on Saturday that we are a community club, and our credentials as such are much reinforced by our inclusion and diversity activities. It certainly captured the imagination on a global scale, with emails and requests for replica shirts coming in from all over the world.

"Throughout the build-up to the game, we were inundated with media enquiries and requests for interviews, and the media presence on the day was unprecedented.

'If that helps the Football v Homophobia campaign spread their message, then all the effort we put in will have been well worthwhile. We auctioned the shirts worn by the players after the game, and the response to that was just as positive.

"The proceeds are going to The Proud Trust, who are helping rebuild Manchester's LGBT + Centre, and though we haven't got a final figure yet, it is going to be a significant amount."