As the footballer, Lou Macari won hearts of fans who came to watch him play for Manchester United. Now it is time to win hearts again, but with a difference.
Macari is now playing God to those who do not have a roof on their head. He became their savior after he saw their miserable plight on the streets. He saw depressing images while taking a stroll on the streets of Stoke-on-Trent, home to England’s pottery industry.
Macari was shocked by the number of people sleeping rough in shop doorways or under bridges in the city where he lives. According to Mirror, an anguished Macari resolved to do something about it.
Anthony Munday was a former journalist friend of Macari when he was Stokes City manager nearly two decades ago. Munday had become the city’s Lord Mayor last year. Macari called up Munday to ask if there were any vacant buildings to give the homeless shelter.
Macari’s efforts bore fruit as Munday initiated a chain of events which led to the opening of the Macari Centre in Hanley. It cost $187,815.
Now 26 people in the Potteries are given hot meals, showers, a change of clothes and a roof over their heads at night.
“I didn’t wake up one morning and decide I was going to open a refuge for the homeless,” said Old Trafford legend Macari, now 67.
“In this day and age, there is no excuse in a civilised society for people to be left out on the streets at night because they have nowhere to go,” Macari says.
Next Friday night (February 3), Macari willhave Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin, his former kit manager, for company. They will be on the concourses at the Bet365 stadium for Stoke’s Big Sleep Out.
“I didn’t ask for beds, showers and kitchens – all I wanted was to put a roof over their heads. All through my football life I’ve been in the results business, and I was determined to get a result here,” Macari says.