Like many people living and working in Manchester, he became alarmed by the sudden growth in homelessness in the city. Recently, it has been impossible to take a walk through the centre of Manchester without being confronted with the sort of destitution naively assumed to be a third-world problem. But, unlike the rest of us plopping loose change into beggars’ hats, Kompany did something constructive about it. According to Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester who spoke with real warmth at Sunday’s dinner, the fact the city now has a capacity to provide more than 350 beds nightly for those in need is largely thanks to Kompany’s involvement. This was a man who not only put his money where his mouth is, he recognised his unique position could be used to persuade others to do the same. Now, others are following the lead he established in Manchester, notably Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata. He turned footballers into civic leaders.
This is what was being honoured on Sunday; as I appreciated when, finding myself for the first time in my life standing to applaud a City hero, I realised they don’t make ‘em like that anymore.