Footballers launch #PlayersTogether movement to help NHS


After weeks of discussions between politicians, football fans and Premier League players, an agreement has been reached. The #PlayersTogether initiative has been set up to help the National Health Service (NHS) who are battling to keep people alive during this present COVID-19 crisis.

footballers-launch-playerstogether-movement-to-help-nhsLet’s get straight to the statement in question, and it was one that footballers such as Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and James Maddison all shared at the same time on their social media accounts. It’s all about the slick branding.

OK, so if you’re anything like us, you’ve read through that statement looking for the numbers. Because although it all sounds good – and kudos for swapping round the traditional ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the slightly edgier, marketing-toned ‘prayers and thoughts’ – the denial is in the detail.

What exactly is being promised is incredibly vague. A “voluntary initiative”, while paired with the NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) for credibility still very much sounds like footballers deciding to put their hands in their pockets very privately with no reveal of who gives what and why.


If now is the moment that you’re asking why private investors and bankers hedge-fund managers and other multi-millionaire sportsmen and women aren’t being asked the same questions that footballers have been by government, then good question. But is it a case of them being asked too, or that Health Secretary Matt Hancock shouldn’t have asked footballers to contribute more in the first place? Hancock said he “warmly welcomed [the] big-hearted decision” after it was announced.

Football itself seems either angry about the pressure it was put under in the first place, the apoplectic that others haven’t been chased with the same vitriol. Sam Allardyce, who was notoriously England manager for a shorter time than we’ve now been in this Coronavirus crisis, told TALKSport about his ire in regard to the judgemental element of government behind the call for this sort of decision.

There are multiple factors in this complex case of asking high earners such as footballers to contribute more during a global pandemic, but surely equality, for so long such a buzzword used by governments and the Football Association in equal measure should have led any action.

If the government wanted higher earners to contribute to the fight against COVID-19, then why not implement an emergency tax contribution during this time, that anyone earning over £100,000 in a month would have to contribute 70% tax. Anyone on Earth could live on £30,000 a month, especially with so many freezes put on mortgages during this emergency period. Instead, the government haven’t done so, so rendering their chastising of footballers alone either obsolete or hypocritical.

Ellie Orton, Chief Executive of NHSCT, was delighted with the gesture, and put out a statement thanking players.

“It sends an amazing message of support to the NHS staff and volunteers working so tirelessly to save lives.” she said.

In an interview with both Rio Ferdinand and Jake Humphrey on BT Sport, Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford described how difficult it had been to get everyone together to help in the best way they could. That does sound plausible, and even if donations such as the £19,000 plus a car-load of Dominos Pizzas from Danny Rose to North Middlesex Hospital was well received and well meaning, it took plenty of discussions to get it sorted, as Rashford spoke about in detail.

In this era of constant, ongoing crisis, any high-earners will come under the microscope, with this statement by elite footballers possibly closing the investigation into their generosity for now, the magnifying glass moving to hover over other less-generous people or organisations.

It’s refreshing to know that there are still football clubs doing the right thing first time and helping no-playing staff relax, knowing that they’re going to be paid and not furloughed, such as Southampton F.C., who are fast becoming our favourite ‘other club’ to support in the Premier League.

Footballers could almost always do more to help, but they frequently do something to help. If everyone did that, then the NHS wouldn’t need any donations at all.