Everton caretaker manager David Unsworth is also leading the way off the pitch at Goodison Park – by joining players, staff and fans in sleeping rough.
The 44-year-old, who was placed in temporary charge of the team following Ronald Koeman’s sacking last month, took time out of his preparations for Saturday’s clash with fellow strugglers Crystal Palace to take part in the Everton in the Community Goodison Sleepout last Friday.
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It is the second-straight year that the former centre-half has braved the five-degree Merseyside temperatures to help the club’s official charity’s “Home Is Where The Heart Is” project supporting people living on the streets in Liverpool.
Unsworth was joined by his Under-23 players and staff sleeping in the Sir Philip Carter Stand as well as 200 fans – four times more than last year.
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The Merseyside outfit lived up to their moniker of ‘The People’s Club’ with the latest event – their second-string side also raised £245,000 for a new project helping 16 to 23-year-olds in need of housing in August.
“I was committed to taking part in this Sleepout and a promise is a promise,” Unsworth said. “Nothing is more important to me right now than having been here tonight.
“Last year’s Sleepout culminated in the launch of our ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ campaign and less than 12 months later, we have raised more than a quarter of a million pounds and have secured a property to house vulnerable young adults on the cusp of homelessness.”
They are not the only Premier League club to stand up for the homeless in their city – The Big Issue joined forces with Southampton at the start of the Premier League season. The partnership saw a special edition Big Issue programme for the south coast club’s clash with Swansea on the opening day of the season while their official charity, Saints Foundation, continues to offer an employment programme for vendors.