Soccer

Marcus Rashford reveals Sir Alex Ferguson support for free school meal campaigning


Marcus Rashford has underlined his gratitude to Sir Alex Ferguson for encouraging and backing his passion for social justice when others were advising him to stick to football.

The Manchester United forward, who has taken on the government to prevent children in England from going hungry, continuously holding them to account and forcing them to reverse their decision to end free school meals and improve the quality of them, revealed his campaigning has been supported in more than a financial sense by the legendary former manager.

Ferguson pledged up to £2million towards the FareShare charity of which Rashford is an ambassador, but has also been a strong source of guidance for the player.

“He has always, from the beginning really, backed me with what I am doing,” Rashford said after collecting the Football Writers’ Association Tribute Award. 

“Probably when other people in sports were telling me not to do it and just focus on football, he said if I believed in that, and I believe it is the right thing to do, then he is behind it.”

Ferguson believes Rashford has transcended the game with his commitment to helping the most vulnerable in society, which will influence others to be more socially conscious.

“I have known him since being a kid of seven years of age, and seen him develop through the ranks of Manchester United into a truly wonderful person,” the club’s most successful manager said.

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“Apart from his football life, what he has achieved in the last few months is quite astonishing, how he has helped people in need is a truly amazing achievement.

“I would like to congratulate him on that. He has shown to young people in particular there is a different way of dealing with life. He has shown great humility, he has shown courage to do what he did.”

Rashford has no intention of easing up on his campaigning as he is fully aware there is a mountain of work to be done to rectify the underlying inequality and struggles of England’s poorest families.

“We are at the beginning of what I see as a long journey,” the striker said. “I am definitely not at the stage of relief yet, I feel that there is a lot more which needs to be done and a lot more steps which need to be taken forward.

“On the positive side we have started to take a few steps in the right direction, but for me now just because we have done that is not about just sitting back now and being happy with what we have done.

“It is about what is next in the chapter of these children’s lives.

“We know we have managed to reach a lot more people that weren’t getting reached, but there are still people out there who are really struggling and if we can make a five or 10 per cent difference to every single one of their lives, then it puts everyone at a good baseline and then we can start to work on foundations for the future.

“But until everyone is on the same playing field, it is difficult to start jumping ahead and asking for things that are necessary, but the timing would be wrong.

“We need to make sure everyone is on the same level first and then we can start to improve that level until they are where they belong.”

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