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Gallagher, Manford, Kay, Carragher and Carrick at star-studded gala bash for Football for Change

Jamie Carragher, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Conor Coady are a powerful force when they meet and not just in the Sky Sports studio or on the pitch.

The trio swapped the Premier League to host a star-studded charity gala at Manchester’s Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground on Thursday to raise £350,000 for disadvantaged youngsters.

It was a power play from Liverpool legend Carragher and the team behind the crusading charity Football for Change.

TV personality Vernon Kay, pictured with Coleen Rooney, brought the show to Manchester
TV personality Vernon Kay, pictured with Coleen Rooney, brought the show to Manchester

TV personality Vernon Kay, pictured with Coleen Rooney, brought the show to Manchester

Love Island star Jacques O'Neill attended the charity gala on Thursday night
Love Island star Jacques O'Neill attended the charity gala on Thursday night

Love Island star Jacques O’Neill attended the charity gala on Thursday night

The red carpet abounded with the great and the good of English football and showbiz as a testament to the power of football and its ability to make a difference.

Actors Claire Sweeney and Ryan Thomas, Love Island’s Jacques O’Neill were among those spotted rubbing shoulders with Coleen Rooney, former Manchester United player and coach, Michael Carrick, ex-Liverpool and Real Madrid winger, now pundit, Steve McManaman and TV personality Vernon Kay.

Despite playing a key role in the development of Football for Change and the gala night, which is supported by MailOnline, Alexander-Arnold and Coady missed the party because they are on call with England and preparing for the Three Lions’ meeting with Italy d .Friday.

Comedian Jason Manford supports the charity
Comedian Jason Manford supports the charity
Man United icon Michael Carrick supports the charity
Man United icon Michael Carrick supports the charity

Comedian Jason Manford (L) and Man United icon Michael Carrick (R) support the charity

“It’s not easy for people at the moment,” Carragher told Sportsmail from the red carpet outside Old Trafford. ‘It’s never easy for children with a working-class background.

‘Many past and present players up and down the country are coming together and recognizing that we are lucky and creating a charity to make a real difference. I’m sure if someone was in our position they would give back too. We have to give back, especially with the state we’re in at the moment.’

Carragher is the chairman and driving force behind the organisation, which is building a high-profile movement – ​​and a significant pot of money – to help young people in disadvantaged areas into jobs and education.

Chairman Jamie Carragher is the driving force behind the crusading charity Football for Change
Chairman Jamie Carragher is the driving force behind the crusading charity Football for Change

Chairman Jamie Carragher is the driving force behind the crusading charity Football for Change

FOOTBALL FOR CHANGE

Football for change was launched last year by Jamie Carragher, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Coady and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to help young people from socially and economically challenged backgrounds build a better future

A major social mobility initiative supported by football superstars including Gary Neville, Jude Bellingham, Steven Gerrard, Anthony Gordon, Lucas Moura, Peter Crouch and Alan Shearer. the campaign has also teamed up with Noel Gallagher ahead of a spectacular fundraising event in Manchester next week.

Liverpool legend and Sky Sports pundit Carragher, who co-chairs the FFC, has been a driving force behind the charity’s crusade, which aims to lift young people from disadvantaged backgrounds out of poverty with life-changing opportunities in education and employment.

Sir Rod Stewart is patron of the initiative.

Since launching last November, Football For Change has raised £350,000 and is aiming to double that at next week’s star-studded fundraiser.

Noel Gallagher headlines with his High Flying Birds, and Melanie C and Emeli Sande also provide entertainment with individual sets.

Vernon Kay hosts, while exclusive lots that cannot be bought have been donated for a live auction by David Beckham, Formula 1, Robbie Williams, Calvin Harris and BT Sport.

Football legends, business leaders and celebrities will be in attendance at the event, which is sponsored by Swinton Insurance.

A constellation of football stars have signed up, including Borussia Dortmund and English midfielder Jude Bellingham, who was also away with the national team, but also Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Carragher’s Sky Sports colleague, Gary Neville.

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard and England’s Euro 2022 winners Beth Mead and Toni Duggan, plus Spurs’ Lucas Moura and MOTD pundits Alan Shearer, Peter Crouch and Gary Lineker are all supporters.

And the ‘do itself featured Noel Gallagher with his High-Flying Birds, while Melanie C performed an individual set.

Meanwhile, stars lined up to donate fantastic raffle prizes, with the top lot being an all-expenses paid trip to the US to watch David Beckham’s Inter Miami.

There was a backstage experience on BT Sport, with Steve McManaman, breakfast with Everton boss Frank Lampard, a meet and greet with Robbie Williams at his homecoming show.

In the first lot to go under the hammer, a signed Epiphone Les Paul guitar signed by Oasis legend Gallagher fetched £30,000.

The entire show was compered by Kay.

“Football is something everyone follows,” Kay, a keen Bolton Wanderers fan, told Sportsmail. ‘It is played in so many local communities. Jamie has brought all these people together.

‘I’m surprised it hasn’t been done before, a football charity on this scale. So many stars are here to support this.’

Coronation Street star Samia Longchambon and her husband Syvain gave their support
Coronation Street star Samia Longchambon and her husband Syvain gave their support

Coronation Street star Samia Longchambon and her husband Syvain gave their support

Football For Change has already raised £350,000 through a celebrity lunch and then dinner, held at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool last November, bringing the total to £700,000.

Football has a bad reputation when it comes to money. Record transfer spending of £1.9 billion in the latest window, as the shadow of a cost-of-living crisis spread over Britain, was uncomfortable.

But the attitude of the players and ex-professionals lining up to help Football for Change is refreshing.

Led by Carragher, they see a chance to use their own good fortune to help others.

Conor Coady (v), Alexander-Arnold and Carragher are the driving force behind FFC
Conor Coady (v), Alexander-Arnold and Carragher are the driving force behind FFC

Conor Coady (v), Alexander-Arnold and Carragher are the driving force behind FFC

Noel Gallagher's High-Flying Birds headlined the night
Noel Gallagher's High-Flying Birds headlined the night

Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds headlined the night

They lend their names and their hard earned; there is no angle.

“We want to help kids who may be underprivileged get some support in their lives,” Coady said in a video played for guests. ‘This is massive.’

Football for Change is looking for young people in vulnerable areas who have neither been in education nor training. The idea was triggered in the lockdown of the Covid pandemic, when the young man became more and more isolated.

While the initiative began in Liverpool, it aims to spread across the country, with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, one of many fans. The Football for Change gala is coming soon.

The charity is already funding a life-changing project for 40 young people who traveled to the US for a sports and education programme, a training scheme for homeless young people and a new youth education center in Bootle.

Across the country, 711,000 young people aged 16 to 24 are currently in the position of well-founded fears that the cost of living crisis and an economic downturn are about to make life even harder.

Among 16-17-year-olds, the latest figure for so-called NEETs nationally is 64,720, of which 1,950 live in the Liverpool City Region. Two hundred of these youngsters have been identified in Sefton, the area where Carragher grew up.

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