If there’s one thing the coronavirus pandemic has made football fans realise, it’s that following the beautiful game isn’t a cheap pastime.
Afternoons down the pub – tickets and travel to the match – and that’s before the kids have twisted your arm into buying them drinks, hot dogs, sweets, and souvenirs at the ground. It all adds up.
Saint Francis Hospice patrons Sir Trevor and Lady Hilkka Brooking are appealing for you to do something incredible with the money you’re saving from this barren spell of football. You can sponsor one of the hospice’s nurses from as little as £3 a month; that’s less than one pint of beer while watching the game.
Lady Hilkka said: ‘Our hospice does tremendous work for people who need us at a desperate time of their life.’
Sir Trevor added: ‘We need to find £8.5 million a year to survive, but our income has taken a real hit from the coronavirus pandemic. But, everyone can still help us reach that fundraising target. The more you can help our nurses, the more pressure they can take off the NHS.’
Sir Trevor is the first to admit that he was never blessed with a blistering pace during his footballing heyday. His West Ham teammates even nicknamed him ‘Boog’ (after Boog Powell, a slow-footed but gifted baseballer they had watched during a tour of the US).
What Sir Trevor lacked in speed, he made up for with technical prowess and his unique ability to read the game – although there’s one thing about the game that even the legendary Sir Trevor can’t read: when it will return.
The former midfield general said: ‘Our concern right now is everyone’s health. Football isn’t a priority at the moment, and rightly so. If the season can’t be finished before 30th June, then I think it would have to be declared null and void. If the season goes on beyond that, contractually and legally, it would be a minefield.’
Sir Trevor doesn’t envy those who have to make the big decisions about the status of the 2019/20 season. He cited season tickets, kit manufacturers, sponsorship deals, players out of contract, and players’ fitness as huge dilemmas.
He admitted that whichever decision is taken, it won’t please everyone: ‘The situation would be desperate for Liverpool, who are so far in front, and the Championship clubs set to earn millions through promotion. Nobody knows as much about the coronavirus as we’d hoped. It may change the face of football.’
Sir Trevor pleaded for everyone ‘to keep your heads up’; something we’re sure he must have bellowed countless times as he rallied his claret and blue troops through the years.
Saint Francis Hospice’s nurses are determined to halt the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to deliver outstanding care with love, understanding, and dignity. You can find out more about how you can help them here.
Joe Emery is a mental health advocate and a writer for Saint Francis Hospice.