A NUMBER of Premier League clubs have announced plans to support frontline NHS workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Brighton have started an initiative for clubs in the Premier League, English Football League, Scotland and Northern Ireland to donate 1,000 tickets for future matches to frontline NHS staff.
Seagulls chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber proposed a club-to-club baton system and nominated Bournemouth, who said they would match Brighton’s pledge.
Barber said: ‘We are working on a range of things across all areas of the community and I hope this will just be the start.
‘We fully appreciate football is the last thing on anyone’s minds at this moment, but we feel this is a small way in which we can show our gratitude for those NHS staff on the frontline who are fighting the battle on behalf of all those and give them something to look forward to.’
Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to match Brighton’s gesture and commit to 1,000 tickets, and we will pass the baton to another club with the aim of reaching a significant target so football as a whole can show its appreciation for our country’s NHS workers.’
Watford have offered the use of their Vicarage Road stadium to the nearby Watford General Hospital for a range of NHS purposes.
‘We need to forget football right now and concentrate on doing all we can to support the NHS, and in particular Watford General Hospital,’ Watford chairman and chief executive Scott Duxbury said in a joint statement announcing the move.
‘Our proximity as a football club next door to a hospital puts us in a great position to offer help and we’re keen to do whatever we possibly can to support NHS staff and their families.’
Former Tottenham and England striker Clive Allen is currently in self-isolation after testing positive for the virus.
The 58-year-old was laid low earlier this month, when he suffered with headaches, fever and a dry cough before getting a test in his own home.
Allen told The Sun: ‘Over two or three days it took hold and I felt unwell for five days, one day particularly so. I had quite a nasty headache, which I never get. It was vice-like around my head.
‘After I began to feel better, I had a dry cough for about three days.
‘Because there was information about the illness I called 111 and they said they’d call me back within two or three days, which they did.
‘They came three or four days later and tested me at my house. Health England arranged it and the lady came and swabbed my nose and my mouth.
‘She went away and I got the positive result five days later.’
■ SOCCER AID has been postponed until later in 2020. The match featuring celebrities and football greats has been running since 2006, raising more than £38million for Unicef to help children all over the world. A statement said the match had been postponed after taking government advice.