Seamus Coleman says Everton’s players are “so proud” of the Blue Family campaign launched by the Club after Premier League football was suspended following the coronavirus outbreak.
Coleman joined Everton more than 11 years ago and was appointed captain on the eve of the current 2019/20 campaign.
He has been a consistent champion of the Club’s Everton in the Community charity since coming to Goodison Park and insists it is imperative to retain contact with supporters amid the global pandemic.
Irishman Coleman is also at the forefront of the #PlayersTogether initiative to distribute funds to the NHS and, in his leadership role at Everton, is proactive in keeping open the communication lines between players.
And he sourced a huge deal of pride from the Club's reaction to the coronavirus crisis.
“Blue Family is something we are all so proud of,” said Coleman.
“Starting from the top – the Chairman has been calling supporters, [Chief Executive Officer] Denise Barrett-Baxendale has been calling supporters, and the manager as well.
“It filters down to the players, who have all got involved in their own ways.
This video is for Season Ticket Holders, Official Members and Hospitality Members
This content is available for free to Digital Members
Free Digital Membership will provide you with the best possible experience when logged into the website, including access to the latest digital content.
Digital members will receive a monthly newsletter and get access to exclusive videos and regular member competitions offering money can’t buy prizes.
Your Digital account will also enable you to buy any tickets on general sale, and if you’re an Official member or Season Ticket Holder, the same login will allow you to access and manage your ticketing account.
To view this content you need to be a Season Ticket Holder, Hospitality Member or Official Member.
YOUNG EVERTONIAN EMILIA RECEIVES CALL FROM EVERTON HERO DCL
“I have called fans to check in and see how they are, I know other players have been doing gym programmes for supporters to follow. Blue Family is trying to reach out to help in any way we possibly can and I think that’s something Everton has always been excellent at.
“Sometimes you think, ‘How can a phone call from me make someone happy?’ But when you get on the phone and start chatting you can tell it means a lot to that person.
“You really enjoy the call and it is so important as players we have that communication with our supporters, especially at this time.”
Coleman has played 310 games for Everton and his 265 Premier League appearances places him joint-sixth – with his predecessor in the right-back position, Tony Hibbert – in the Club’s all-time list.
His professionalism, longevity and character all fed into Coleman being named skipper last August.
But the parameters of his role have altered somewhat since Everton’s USM Finch Farm training base was closed five weeks ago.
“When you’re in at Finch Farm and you’re going about your own business it’s just about living your life the right way and leading by example,” said Coleman
“I didn’t ask for this armband, it was given to me because people see something in the attributes I have.
“In my 11 years at Everton I have had good and bad training sessions but one thing I’ve never lacked – not one single day – was 100-per-cent commitment.
“It is the same in games and it is important to give your all.
“But the role has definitely changed a bit in this period.
“You check in with players every now and again to see how they are… let people know you’re there for them if they need you.
“It is important we all stay in touch and talk to each other.
“We have a couple of WhatsApp groups and the fitness coaches are giving us our programmes.
“We need to listen to the Government guidelines and play our part and hopefully by doing that we’ll be back to our normal lives as soon as possible.”
Coleman and teammate Leighton Baines were in talks over the logistics of a player donation to the NHS soon after football's suspension last month.
But when Coleman was contacted by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson over the prospect of a united Premier League effort he was keen to pool resources.
The #PlayersTogether movement was announced this month and through contributions from top-flight players and the England's Women squad will “quickly grant funds to the NHS frontline”.
Coleman has also aided initiatives in his homeland.
He pledged money to volunteer group Feed The Heroes, which will provide meals for frontline workers battling the virus in Ireland.
And, earlier this month, Coleman donated to a fundraising drive to pay for a young boy suffering with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 and Scoliosis to receive potentially life-saving treatment in America.
“Everywhere is suffering and it is no different back home,” said Coleman.
“I have got involved with a couple of things.
“I am more than happy to do anything I can to help people.
“I have been brought up by my parents to help people when they need it.
“Football came along and I did okay and it is nice I can use that to help people.
“When this [coronavirus spread] started to get really serious, players wanted to help.
“I spoke to Bainesy and we thought it would be a good idea for the players to donate to the NHS.
“As we were doing that, Jordan [Henderson] got in touch and said they were aiming to start a fund on behalf of all Premier League teams.
“And we thought if collectively we could raise a lot of money it would be better.
“All the teams are on board and it is for a great cause.”
Everton and official charity Everton in the Community (EITC) launched their ‘Blue Family’, campaign last month to maintain contact with fans and provide support and assistance to the most vulnerable, socially isolated and ‘at risk’ members of society across Liverpool – and beyond – in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Blue Family has also seen the Club and charity introduce a referral form enabling fans and the wider public to refer people they believe might need a friendly voice to speak to at this difficult time.