England’s men play Denmark in the Euro semi finals this evening.
It may, or may not, be coming home. We have been here before, after all.
But the voluntary sector has not been immune to the football’s charms, so this seems a perfect chance to run through some of the ways charities have been involved with the tournament.
Turning tears into money
The first big winners are Unicef, which is £35,000 richer thanks to the weird world of online fundraising.
The charity is the ultimate beneficiary from the misery of a young Germany fan caught on camera during their game with England, weeping copiously as her side was swept out of the tournament. Twitter being Twitter, some people had some extremely mean things to say about her.
Football Fan Raises Over £25,000 for Crying Girl Mocked After England Beat Germany At Euros 2020— P.H_Towncrier 🔊🔊🔊 (@Ph_Towncrier) July 3, 2021
A Wales Football fan, Joel Hughes set up a fundraiser for the little girl “to show her that not everyone in the UK is horrible”.
Punch Newspaper pic.twitter.com/sfpJYYeuBQ
For reasons which slightly defy understanding, a bloke in Wales then started an online crowdfunder to raise money for the girl and her family. This quickly developed a life of its own, thanks to the BBC and other coverage, and ended up getting £35,000 in donations.
Cue lots of confusion because the man behind the project didn’t actually know who the girl was and had no way of getting in touch with her.
Yesterday the family was finally tracked down, at which point they politely turned down the cash, asked to retain their anonymity, and requested that the money go to Unicef instead.
This should probably prompt a serious article about under-regulated online fundraising, but for now it’s enough to know that the money has ended up somewhere useful.
Earlier in the tournament, the charity Little Village packed off a timely gift to one child before the England v Scotland game – a tiny pair of football boots, thanks to a local donation.
I will be bitterly disappointed if the recipient does not turn out for the country at the Euros in 2040. What a fundraising moment THAT would be.
Because every little #footballer deserves the chance to own their own #football boots ⚽️— Little Village (@LittleVillageHQ) June 18, 2021
Tiny shoes donated by our local community and packed with love by our volunteer, Jan. All ready to be sent out to a little one ahead of #ENGSCO tonight ♥️
Come on #England ! 🏴 pic.twitter.com/gRjAO7cDAs
This is also a good place to mention the excellent Twitter account @shirts_original, which displays the latest football shirts available from the nation’s charity shops.
Come buy, come buy.
1996 and all that
England doing well in international football matches is quite a retro idea.
Not quite as retro as vinyl, though, and Teenage Cancer Trust has combined the two to raise some cash. Sony Records has reissued The Lightning Seeds’ 1996 banger Three Lions on vinyl, with 50% of profits going to the charity.
It is yours for a tenner and there are still five days of Euro 2020 to go, so what’s stopping you? (Although if England lose this evening you only have a few hours to play it before it makes us all weep like that little German girl).
Jordan Henderson has 67 England caps, scored against Ukraine earlier this week, and led Liverpool to Premier League glory last season. But I reckon he is proudest of his MBE for services to charity.
By all accounts he worked tirelessly with local causes during the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak, and he was being championed by the charity sector again after wearing Stonewall’s rainbow laces during the latest game as a show of support for LGBTQ+ folk everywhere. Harry Kane wore a rainbow captain’s armband against Germany, too, marking Pride Week alongside his opposite number, German goalkeeper and occasional centre back Manuel Neuer.
Oh and Marcus Rashford got a run out against Ukraine, as well, taking time away from feeding hungry kids with FareShare to play some football.
What happens next?
This England side really does seem like a lovely, charitable bunch.
We will even forgive them if falter later today. Maybe.