West Brom boss Slaven Bilic happy to be sharing some cheer
Slaven Bilic says making another person happy is one of the best things you can do after he joined fellow Albion stars in making surprise phone calls to supporters.
Chris Brunt, Jake Livermore, Charlie Austin, Kieran Gibbs, Romaine Sawyers and Filip Krovinovic are among the first-team players making calls to elderly season ticket holders to help lift their spirits during the coronavirus pandemic.
Albion legends Brendon Batson, Ally Robertson, Graham Williams, Joe Mayo, Daryl Burgess, Ray Wilson and Andy Johnson have also been calling fans to check they are OK.
And Bilic says he is enjoying speaking to supporters just as much as they are enjoying talking to him.
“One of the best things in life as a human is to make somebody happy,” the head coach said.
“Especially in this kind of job, it costs you nothing. You are talking for five minutes with a supporter and you are making their day a great one.
“It makes your day great also. It makes you happy also.
“The players love to do those kinds of things. The players are no different to other people.
“In general, people love to make other people happy if they are in a position to do that.
“The players, it’s not that they don’t mind – they like to do it. And now they have time.
“It’s especially nice to do for the older fans who have to stay in, it’s hard for them.”
A host of clubs in the Football League have decided to furlough their staff due to COVID-19.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme means the government will pay those placed on temporary leave 80 per cent of their wages.
Albion hope they won’t have to use the scheme but it remains an option on the table depending on how long the pandemic lasts.
Bilic, though, revealed the players have offered to top up the remaining 20 per cent of staff wages to ensure nobody loses out if the club does have to go down the furlough route.
“When I spoke to the board at West Brom, the players also called and said they don’t want the non-playing staff to lose a single penny,” the head coach added.
“The players and staff are more than ready to fill their wages from ours. That’s the minimum I think players should do.”