Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

“I want to do something that’s bigger than just playing football” Liverpool’s Christie Murray on being part of Common Goal

Posted on 15 November 2019 by Hal Fish
Common Goal Member Christie Murray (photo credit: New Balance)

The function of Common Goal is to have its members pledge one percent of their earnings to help fund organisations that can advance the United Nations Global Goals.

It is one percent of a footballer’s wage going to charity. To quote the site: “The idea is simple.”

So it is hard not to wonder why so few multi-millionaire footballers and managers – making hundreds of thousands of pounds a-week – have signed up for it.

With Juan Mata the leading force behind the campaign, Common Goal is well known to most football fans.

When Jurgen Klopp announced his alignment with the cause at The Best FIFA Football Awards last September – in front of the crème de la crème of the aforementioned wealthy crop of footballers and managers – the organisation was thrust once more into the spotlight.

However, Liverpool’s Christie Murray is hesitant to blame those in her profession who have not signed up to the cause.

“Of course you want as many people as possible to get involved,” Murray says. “But you don’t want it to become something that is forced upon people. I think to get involved with Common Goal you need to want to do it.

“It’s also a personal choice. It depends on you as a person and how you want to make an impact.” She then added: “I think people give in other ways.”

Inside the footballing world, Murray feels that the best way to spread the message is through word of mouth.

Indeed, it was Scottish national teammate and Manchester United striker Jane Ross who put it to her whilst on international duty earlier this year.

“I already knew about Common Goal, I just hadn’t followed it up,” Murray explains. “And then she [Ross] told me about it, I was like ‘yea, I’m definitely in.’

“I’m passionate about helping other people any way that I can, so it was something I wanted to be part of.”

We all know there’s plenty of cash floating around in football. In April of this year, an article published by Forbes outlined the financial records of some of the leading Premier League clubs.

“In absolute terms, Manchester United underwrote the largest salary bill, an estimated £296M in 2017/18. Liverpool costs were £263M with Manchester City at £260M. Chelsea’s wages costs were £244M and Arsenal’s £223M.”

Despite all that money, at time of writing, you could only just about scrape together a Common Goal five-a-side team made up of Premier League players.

Currently five members of the project are playing first team football in England’s top division: Kasper Schmeichel, Charlie Daniels, Bruno, Juan Mata, and Leon Balogun; one academy player: Isaac Christie Davies (Liverpool); and one manager: Jürgen Klopp.

Despite the significant wage gap, in the Women’s Super League there are presently eleven players who are Common Goal members, as well as Manchester United Women’s manager Casey Stoney.

Embed from Getty Images

“I think it just shows that we care,” the 29-year-old states. “It shows, despite earning nowhere near that kind of level [of wages] the women’s game want to give back, and we want to help other people.

“For me that’s definitely a positive thing, and I know it will continue to grow and more people will want to get involved which again, is great. It’s just about momentum, it’s just about players becoming aware of it and then understanding what they [Common Goal] do.

And Murray says losing the one percent is not something she registers: “One percent is nothing, you don’t notice it coming out of your wages at all.

“If people become aware of that, they start thinking: ‘why can’t I help? why can’t I get involved in some way?’”

“The more people get involved, the more conversations people have, then the more opportunity there is to get other people involved.”

The Liverpool number ten expresses a keen desire to gain more publicity for Common Goal, but carefully treads the thin line between encouraging more people to make a difference and forcing them to.

Her own personal message is clear: “I want to do something that’s bigger than just playing football, to be involved in Common Goal gives me the opportunity to help and make a positive impact, however small, to those in difficult social circumstances. In the future, I’d love to go out and work with the charities personally.”