Manchester's homeless in good Kompany

LONDON • Vincent Kompany believes that he has a duty to tackle the issue of homelessness in Manchester, which he has called home for the past 10 years.

The 32-year-old Manchester City captain earlier this year set up a combined initiative called Tackle4Mcr with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham in a bid to inspire social change in the region.

The BBC reported on Friday that he will also donate all profits from his testimonial match next year to Manchester's homeless.

In an interview with the Manchester Evening News, the Belgian explained why he felt the need to tackle the problem.

"It's undeniable - globally, England, the whole of the UK, is well off," he said.

"And in this part of the world, for this (homelessness) to still be possible, it's actually quite shameful.

"But problems happen - and if we have enough solidarity, we can perhaps change things for the future."

He added that the issue was more evident in the city than in the suburbs, and he realised this only when City's training ground moved from the outskirts to the complex around the Etihad Stadium in the east of the city.

Until 2014, many of the players travelled from their homes in the Cheshire suburbs to their old training ground in Carrington and were less aware of life in the city.

"It's a different thing if you live in the outskirts and you never see it, than if you live in the middle of it and you see it every day," he said.

"We're very closely linked to each other, no matter how much disparity there is in wealth. We live in the same environment, the same area and, if people have the means to help, they should do it."

The defender, who has led City to three Premier League titles, also felt that his efforts are aimed at trying to create a positive learning environment for his children. He married local girl Carla Higgs in 2011 and they are raising their daughter Sienna in the region.

He felt that any kids he has should grow up in an area where they can be "proud of how people behave" when help is easily rendered to those in need.

"I think we live in such a selfish world - it's all about guys trying to get on top by attacking the other one with populist rhetoric," he said.

"It's so easy now with social media to always create a divide and get on top. It's a lot harder to bring people together to do something tangible and something that brings us closer."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 23, 2018, with the headline 'Manchester's homeless in good Kompany'. Print Edition | Subscribe