After the mural of England football star Marcus Rashford was defaced following the Euro 2020 final, the artwork was covered in hundreds of heart-warming tributes.
People are continuing to leave messages of support and solidarity at the vandalised mural of Marcus Rashford, including England flags, words of admiration and red hearts. The touching gestures have been strengthened online, with thousands tweeting messages of support and encouragement to the footballer.
The artwork in Withington, Manchester, was defaced with ‘racially aggravated’ graffiti following England’s defeat by Italy in the Euro 2020 final, less than an hour after the game concluded. However, Mancunians came together in a heart-warming show of support for the footballer, covering the mural with hundreds of tributes.
One said, “Dear Marcus, please know that you are so admired and people find you an inspiration.”
Another read, “I can take or leave football but I cannot take or leave people like you.
“Thank you for your passion, compassion and desire to change lives.”
Rashford said he was “on the verge of tears” when he saw the mural had been covered in supportive messages. This has followed an outpouring of support for the footballer and his teammates on social media.
The mural was defaced with several obscenities shortly after Rashford missed a penalty, along with Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho. The players were targeted with horrific racial abuse online, before an overwhelming worldwide show of support.
Rashford said he was sorry for missing his penalty, adding that he “wished it had gone differently” but then paid tribute to those who added messages on the mural.
“The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up,” he tweeted.
“I’m Marcus Rashford, 23 years old, black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester.”
The artwork, based on a photograph by Daniel Cheetham and painted by street artist Akse, was created as part of Withington Walls, a community street art project. You can see more of the inspirational art at withingtonwalls.co.uk
It was commissioned in recognition of Rashford’s work tackling child food poverty. Akse has now repaired the damage, but has yet to share what will happen to the messages of support.
Greater Manchester Police said an investigation had been launched after the force received a report of racially aggravated damage. Appealing for information, Ch Supt Paul Savill said, “Hate crime in any form is completely unacceptable and not welcome here in our city.”
The actions of the general public, both online and in Manchester show how strongly we’re all fighting against racism. While the action of a few, in reaction to a football loss, is disheartening, it’s the overwhelming show of support that is giving us hope for the future.