Marcus Rashford covered in love after receiving vile racist abuse in the aftermath of his penalty miss during England’s Euro 2020 final shootout defeat against Italy
- Fans have been putting positive messages on Marcus Rashford’s mural
- Rashford received sickening racist abuse after missing a penalty for England
- The mural in Withington was vandalised in the aftermath of the final defeat
- Fans joined on Tuesday to admire the mural as part of a demonstration
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
Marcus peeped out from above the messages. They had crept up his neck to the point of his chin and up each side of the brickwork on Withington Walls, where they have honoured their favourite son.
The messages had appeared in response to the hateful, racist abuse daubed on the Rashford mural following England’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final. Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were also victims, the other two young black men whose crime was to fail from the spot in Sunday’s penalty shootout at Wembley.
As depressing as that was, it was heartening to witness the scene in South Manchester on Tuesday. Moorfield Street closed to traffic so the public could admire the mural and the messages of support, reminding Rashford and his England team-mates that the vast majority of people are still right behind them and that we are not all moronic idiots.
Fans joined to admire Marcus Rashford’s mural on the back of him receiving vile racist abuse
Rashford was one of three England players to receive abuse after missing a penalty
Offensive messages were put on Rashford’s mural in the aftermath to England’s defeat
Fans put messages of support over the offensive wording which was then removed
People of all colours and creeds came. Men, women and children rubbed shoulders as they read the tributes from shops, schools and the public and took pictures in front of the wall, located between the Mega Pound Superstore and Withington Discount Store.
It was created as a tribute by Manchester-based street artist Akse on the back of Rashford’s success for United and, more precisely, his achievements in feeding millions of under-privileged children like himself.
On Tuesday it became more like a shrine, more akin to what we see when someone passes away. You had to remind yourself this was just a game of football, just a penalty.
A big game of football and a big penalty, but still. It reflected the depth of outrage and indignation against the racist abuse for Rashford and his team-mates, symbolically blocking out the hate. Words like ‘hero’ and ‘proud’ cropped up time and again. Children praised the 23-year-old for being an inspiration on and off the field.
Rashford tweeted ‘Overwhelmed. Thankful. Lost for words’ alongside pictures of the mural.
Saka was not forgotten and neither was Sancho, on the day the former Manchester City forward returned to town to undergo a medical ahead of his £73million move to United from Borussia Dortmund.
It was a heartening response to the vandalism, with words like ‘hero’ and ‘proud’ popping up
‘Rashford for PM’ declared one tribute which may have come as a jolt to Natalie Elphicke, the Conservative MP for Dover who was forced to apologise after asking colleagues if ‘it be ungenerous to suggest that Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics’.
Stupidity isn’t limited to the mindless idiots.
United’s in-house television station was one of a number of camera crews in attendance to record the scenes and canvas opinion in support of their player. Earlier, MUTV spoke to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for his thoughts on the issue.
Anti-racism demonstrators gathered next to the mural of Rashford on Tuesday
An emotional fan during the demonstration at the mural in Withington, Manchester
Rashford, let’s not forget, once had the backbone to convert a 94th-minute penalty in Paris at the age of 21 to put United into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
‘You know the thing is when you step up to take a penalty, I think you’ve already won,’ said Solskjaer. ‘You might be the hero or the one who misses. That’s football. I know Marcus is going to put his hand up and say he wants to take one for us.’
If he does, Rashford won’t be short of support.
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