Aspiring Stoke City players were given a lesson in poverty – by Potters legend Lou Macari.
The ex-Stoke manager gave the club’s under-18 squad a tour around the Macari Centre for homeless people, in Hanley, and told them about the charity’s work.
Lou, who has been running the shelter since 2016, also gave the young players some tips for their future careers. They included Lou’s own grandson Lewis.
The squad members, who will hope to become multi-millionaire professional footballers, brought some donated items for the Regent Road centre.
Under-18s coach Richard Walker said the visit was about the club and its players being a part of the Stoke-on-Trent community.
He said: “First of all we wanted to give something back to the community, so we asked the lads to donate things like old clothes to the Macari Centre.
“We also want to our players to become well-rounded young men, and coming here today is part of that. It’s not just about the football.”
“And of course, there is the fact that this is run by Lou Macari. His grandson Lewis is an important member of our squad, and Lou remains a great friend of the club.”
During the visit, Lou advised the young players to work hard and stay away from temptations such as drink and drugs.
He hopes the visit to the Macari Centre will help to teach the teenagers humility.
Lou said: “Richard rang me and asked if he could bring down the youth team, as he thought it would be good for them. I hope it has been educational for them.
“These lads are hopefully going to be come professional footballers, where they’ll have all the fame and glory, and of course, the money. So it’s good for them to see the other side of things, and learn what life is like for those who are less fortunate.”
The Macari Centre provides 48 beds for homeless people, along with hot food, advice and support.
Lou explained to the youth players how he was inspired to set up the charity after walking around Hanley one night and seeing the extent of homelessness in the city.
The players said they had learnt a lot from the visit.
Adam Porter, aged 17, from Biddulph, said: “This was a good opportunity for us to come and see the work they do here. I think it’s been a real eye-opener, learning how people have ended up here.”