Supporters may be locked out of their favourite club grounds, but fans are still making themselves heard for Cancer Deadline Day, a brand-new fixture on the football calendar playing for the future of eight of the biggest cancer charities.
More than 50 clubs have signed up in support of a consortium of eight cancer charities, with fans competing to raise the most money by the end of transfer deadline day.
And celebrity endorsement has come in the form of music royalty Sir Rod Stewart and The Who, former England strikers Alan Shearer, Jermain Defoe and Michael Owen, and even Jeff Stelling.
Among the fans making a transfer for cancer is 84-year-old Millwall supporter Charlie Harris, who has terminal cancer.
He donated £400 on behalf of Millwall and said: “As a lifetime supporter of Millwall, starting in the 50s, I give this donation in the hope that a cure will be found one day. Come on you Lions.”
Millwall manager Gary Rowett said a personal thank you to Charlie in a Zoom call arranged by the club and Charlie’s donations have helped Millwall set the early pace in the giving table.
Lions fans having already raised more than £9,000. The winning club will be revealed when the transfer window closes on Monday night.
Rachael Franklin, Director of Fundraising, Communications and Engagement at Breast Cancer Now, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest crisis that has faced breast cancer in decades and has already had major impacts on thousands affected by the disease.
“The pandemic has also served a significant financial blow, with our fundraising income projected to drop by 43 per cent in this financial year.
“Breast Cancer Now’s world-class research has been devastatingly affected by the pandemic. Our researchers have already lost around 230,000 hours in the lab and we are now less able to fund new research which threatens to stall the development of better treatment and care that could transform the lives of people with breast cancer.
“This is why we are encouraging everyone to donate to Cancer Deadline Day. Get behind your favourite football player or team and make a real difference today – our ambition is that by 2050 everyone diagnosed with breast cancer will live and live well, but we need your support to make this a reality.”
As well as Breast Cancer Now and Macmillan Cancer Support, CLIC Sargent, Pancreatic Cancer UK, Prostate Cancer UK, The Ruth Strauss Foundation, Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Teenage Cancer Trust will all receive a split of the money raised.