Millwall footballers will today step onto the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium in one of the biggest matches of their career, playing Wigan Athletic for a place in the FA Cup Final.
But despite the potentially momentous nature of the occasion, the club will use a moment when all eyes are on them to mark their commitment to the campaign to save Lewisham hospital from cutbacks.
When they enter the arena for the pre-match warm up, the players will sport ‘Save Lewisham Hospital’ shirts as a sign of their support for the campaign.
The hospital is currently under threat of a 60per cent downsize in 2015 and possible eventual closure.
The club say the players want to leave the Wembley crowd in no doubt as to the ‘’significant place’’ the Hospital holds in their club’s history and of their gratitude for the care its staff have provided to players, club staff, supporters and their families.
Chief Executive Andy Ambler said: “Lewisham Hospital is at the heart of our community and for us at the club too. We are right behind the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign and remain fully committed in our support.”
As well as the players, a number of fans will also be echoing the Save Lewisham Hospital message with the help of another set of customised shirts and holding aloft a flag as they cheer The Lions.
Carol Brown, a patient and campaign member, said: ‘’My life was saved last year by the dedicated staff of Lewisham Hospital A&E and ICU. As far as we are concerned, in the way they are supporting our hospital, Millwall are the team with the heart of a lion. They deserve to go all the way to the Final.’
The club made clear their support for the campaign before the FA quarter final match at the Den, when rapper Question Musiq and the Lewisham NHS Choir performed their fundraiser single Stand Up for Lewisham A&E!