Lichfield Lions, who play in the Tamworth Junior Football League, within the Birmingham FA, have added a 'Thank you, NHS' badge to their football kits for next season – recognising the efforts of key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Alongside it, they have launched a campaign encouraging all grassroots clubs to adopt the badge and pay homage to emergency staff and caregivers.
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant tweeted his support for the idea – describing it as 'a great initiative', and tagged Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the FA in his tweet.
Lions chairman Nathaniel De Vere insists that the idea could bring together the professional and amateur game in admiration for NHS staff.
“I’m really excited by this initiative," he said.
"It was my son Dylan’s idea and I think it’s a truly great way for the professional and amateur game to stand shoulder to shoulder in their appreciation of how NHS workers put others ahead of themselves every day.
“We are very grateful to MP Michael Fabricant for supporting the initiative. We were stunned when he not only did so, but tagged in the Prime Minister and the FA as well.”
Meanwhile, club welfare office Kevin Smith believes the initiative is a welcome distraction for the players – while also highlighting the work done in the local community.
“One of our teams, Real, was riding high in second place in the league and in two quarterfinals when Coronavirus stopped the league in its tracks, so this is a lovely boost for the players too," he added.
“The club committee, parents, local volunteers and even the Military Defence Academy have rallied to support our community, delivering well over 1,500 shopping orders and prescriptions to the most vulnerable in the first five weeks of Coronavirus, as part of our Team Wellbeing project.
“Working with the community, we’ve seen at first-hand the heroes of the NHS attend some of the people we’ve been supporting.
"Every one of them is a cup winner to us. We want the whole UK football family to say ‘thank you’ as one to them.
"To see this level of support for what we are trying to do is incredible.”