Marcus Mumford is a man of his word. Whether dashing across the planet to fulfill promised tour dates with Mumford and Sons, or consistently following through in finding ways to use his fame for a greater good, he does what he promises. The musician lives just a stone’s throw from the Grenfell Towers, the site of one of the most ghastly fire tragedies in recent memory, made much more wrenching because the residents had made landlords aware of many construction dangers before. Marcus Mumford reached out immediately as a hands-on neighbor to affected families.

In the wake of a week of unspeakable loss in the Gulf Coast region of the US, it is easy to forget the suffering of victims who are no longer in the headlines, but who are still hurting, nontheless. Sports has been a welcome respite for Marcus Mumford, and he and his band have often taken breaks for a welcome football match, of the UK variety, both while on the road and back home. The composer created summer programs focused around football camps for children of families affected by the Grenfell Towers fires, realizing that so many families no longer had the means for childcare while they worked to rebuild their lives.

Marcus Mumford also called on a few very famous friends from the sports and music worlds last month to join him for the Game4Grenfell, a match made fund-raising and celebration for the families involved, and yesterday, September 2, was the day of the contest, and gave everyone reason for some muddy, musical buddy camaraderie.

Here’s to the stripes

Marcus Mumford donned the broad blue-and-white stripes of team Ferdinand and preferred not to take center stage as team captain. He was among good company, with teammates Ben Shephard, Sir Mo Farah, “Billions” star, Damian Lewis, DJ Spoony, and Peter Crouch.

The stands were packed with the sell-out crowd of fans, sporting team colors, but cheering for the cause above all.

Marcus Mumford isn't alone in feeling that the Grenfell Towers families looking on for free from the stands are friends, not faces in the news coverage. “I grew up very close to here,” Damian Lewis remembered, and he still sees the towers on a regular basis because “I play football here every week, and have done for 25 years,” stresses the actor.

Even with the star power from music represented on the field, fans were most delighted to see football professionals, like Manchester United boss, José Mourinho, and England goalkeeper, David Seaman, dive into the pitch, along with singer, Oily Mars. No football match of this caliber is ever complete without sod on the face as well as the feet, and a bit of drenching.

Scores and sweet sounds

Marcus Mumford changed out of his Team Ferdinand uniform and into all black to perform with Rita Ora as the halftime entertainment. Ora is known for her sexy and glamorous attire, but for this event, she, too, poured out personal remembrance and a very low-pitched look. She wore jeans and her own Grenfell T-shirt to commemorate the day, and related that the towering structure was her “childhood haunt.” “I used to play on that block, “ she shared from the stage.

Ora, Mumford, and Emeli Sande sang a passionate rendition of the Bill Withers classic, ”Lean On Me” that seemed to leap across the Atlantic with a rich dose of emotion for so many thousands in need of hope, from the stadium to Houston shelters.

The score came to a 2-2 tie in regulation before a rousing penalty kick shootout gave Team Ferdinand a 5-3 victory. The final score seemed a perfecting fitting end to the Game4Grenfell at Loftus Field, which is only a mile from Grenfell Towers.

Marcus Mumford has called out the official government response to Grenfell Towers fire as being “shambolic and rubbish” in the light of the real loss facing these families. Across the pond, the United States faces the task of supporting as many as 100,000 families who have lost everything, and that reflects just Houston alone.

There are sure to be songs written about these epic days, and their pain. Rebuilding takes much more than bricks and mortar, it takes restoring hope, a smile, a song, and maybe even a football match at a time. More musicians who are willing to get real and get a little muddy, like Marcus Mumford, don’t hurt the process, either.