Football: As the sunlight faded yesterday afternoon in north London, the electronic advertising hoardings flashed up a brightly coloured rainbow design indicating Arsenal’s support for February’s LGBT History Month.
It is part of the “Arsenal For Everyone” initiative in which the club are working alongside local groups to promote diversity and equality in the local community.
It was therefore ironic that Colin Kazim-Richards’s solitary strike was to prove decisive, as the journeyman striker is being investigated by Sussex Police for alleged homophobic gestures during Tuesday’s Championship draw at Brighton.
Richards, born in east London to a Turkish Cypriot mother and an Antiguan father, has enjoyed a colourful and varied career, and is currently on a season-long loan at Rovers from Greek side Olympiakos.
Previously an ambassador for the Kick It Out anti-racism campaign, the well-travelled front man appeared unaffected by the allegations and proved to be a burly, physical presence throughout the game.
The tie’s key moment came in the 72nd minute, shortly after Arsenal had made a triple substitution.
Perhaps distracted by the wholesale changes, the Gunners allowed Martin Olsson acres of space inside the penalty area to unleash a shot that Wojciech Szczesny could only parry back into the danger area.
Unfortunately for the hosts, Richards was on hand to scuff an effort goalwards, the ball bouncing up from the turf and dropping in off the far upright.
Afterwards, Rovers boss Michael Appleton was delighted with Richards’s contribution.
He said: “I’m delighted that he got the reward today for all the work that he has put in over the last few games.
“He’s a humble lad who is misunderstood by a lot of people, but he knows when to put a shift in.”
In defeat, Arsene Wenger suffered his first reverse against a lower league club in the FA Cup since his appointment.
His team must improve dramatically before Tuesday’s Champions League fixture against Bayern Munich, a competition that represents their last realistic opportunity for silverware this term.