Watford FC legend Luther Blissett “will be honoured” to support a charity football match to raise money for the staff at Watford General Hospital and the Royal British Legion.

Oxhey Jets hold an annual Remembrance game for the Poppy Appeal in tribute to their former player Private Tom Lake, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in November 2011.

The Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division club will once again face footballers from a military background this November, as long as the coronavirus pandemic allows the fixture to be played then, but this year’s match will have a different complexion in recognition of the Covid-19 crisis.

Club founder John Elliott is planning to put together a combined team of NHS doctors and army medical staff who have supported the NHS during the pandemic – and the side is set to be managed by the Hornets great.

Proceeds from the match will then be split between the British Legion and the staff at Watford General Hospital.

Watford’s record goalscorer became involved after hearing about Gary Crossley, a long-serving Jets player, who was seriously ill with Covid-19 last month.

Mr Blissett was keen to offer his support and said: “It was an incredible day when John told me that Gary had finally started to recover in ICU and was then discharged. I arranged to call him as a surprise.

“John had told me about the work of other friends of Oxhey Jets and what they were doing on the front line, some as volunteers with the RNLI on the Thames and others were soldiers who – unpublicised - were operating paramedic services and ambulances in London.

“When talking with one particular soldier I was moved and inspired by his bravery in taking on this unseen ‘enemy’ coronavirus. These forces personnel have been rather unsung heroes not really being in the public eye.

“At the same time, those doctors and nurses who have risen to the challenge of providing their medical care in our hospitals, without fear throughout this terrible time, are also heroes. To me they are also a service, also a force, to whom we owe so much.”

The idea of the combined NHS and armed forces team came about after Mr Elliott spoke with Sean Thomson, a solider with 1st Battalion The Rifles who has been working with NHS Wales ambulance staff during the crisis.

The 65-year-old, who has vowed the charity match will be rearranged for a future date if it is not possible to play it in November, said: “The whole thing fitted this year to go with a mixed NHS match with the services.

“But having the military we still keep the Last Post, the Union flags and the pipers. Gary Crossley will lay a wreath in the NHS rainbow colours because he’s a Jets player whose had coronavirus, while the league will also lay a wreath as they’ve lost two officers.”

Mr Blissett said: “When John mentioned his idea of the Poppy Appeal match featuring the NHS and armed forces I loved it immediately. I felt it could be a chance to honour those who have served us in this most difficult of times.

“The idea of both the NHS and the military together is inspirational. They all protect us.

“The world was swept away with the image of Captain Tommy (Moore) - or should I say Sir Tom - raising all that money for the NHS, showing that spirit and discipline that made this nation great. He put aside his age to honour those he felt were front line heroes right now. So I felt the Poppy Appeal, especially in the 75th year of VE Day, needed to share that spirit and deserved public support. We owe so much to those who serve on our behalf.

“The old knees mean I shall probably be shouting from the bench as I have long hung my boots up. But I am hoping that Oxhey Jets will be able to put the match on in a world greatly restored by then - and I will be honoured to put my name to it.”

Following Mr Crossley’s illness, the Altham Way club has already been helping to raise money for the staff at Watford General Hospital by selling specially-designed badges. The idea for these was borne out of a popular challenge asking people to post a photograph on social media website Twitter or make a donation to charity.

Mr Elliott though, decided to “change the game” and explained: “We put a photograph up but we also pledged to buy these badges at our cost and sell them and we’ll give the money to the NHS, but I wanted it to go to the local hospital because one of our Vets players, Gary Crossley, was very seriously ill in there.”

Jets are due to take delivery of 300 badges next week, around 120 of which have already been pre-sold at £5 each.