Little touches make a big difference during times of crisis
The devastating worldwide situation with the coronavirus pandemic has caused the stagnation of all sport and footballers are chipping in however they can.
There have already been some high-profile offers of help, with Red Devils legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs handing over their Manchester hotels to NHS staff, while Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has pledged one million euros to aid the fight.
Watford have offered their Vicarage Road ground, which sits next to Watford General Hospital, to the NHS, with chairman Scott Duxbury saying the club would do “whatever it takes” to support the health service.
Those acts of generosity are set to continue as the world attempts to fight back against the biggest global crisis since WWII.
The government’s decision to put the country in virtual lockdown for three weeks means communication is via mobile phones only, with many footballers interacting with fans via social media.
Everton defender Michael Keane has taken it one step further, personally calling a 78-year-old isolated Toffees season ticket holder to reassure him that things will be all right and the club is there to help him in whatever way they can.
"It's great to hear the happiness in their voice when you call." 📞
"I gave him a call for 25 minutes. He said it made his day and it made my day as well." 🙌
"I try to do it as much as possible."👏
Michael Keane explains how he's been calling Everton fans to check up on them. pic.twitter.com/FT3iFASA3T
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) March 25, 2020
The Merseysiders launched their ‘Blue Family’ campaign last week to provide support and assistance to the most vulnerable and the man known only as Rod had also spoken to chairman Bill Kenwright earlier in the day.
It is likely to be a familiar story at other clubs around the country, with football the bedrock of the community in many places and something that people cling to for an identity.
Brighton have promised to donate 1,000 tickets to NHS workers for future matches, while Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn has already agreed to match the offer, so it is clear clubs are mucking in to do whatever they can.
While the beautiful game may seem fairly irrelevant given what is happening globally, it remains important for fans to keep that connection and there is no question it is so much easier thanks to the technology now available.
Many clubs are reaching out to their communities to offer any assistance and the tribalism associated with fans will go out of the window until the situation is under control.
The world is still months away from returning to anything resembling normality and football can provide a little ray of light during these dark times.