Barber: Calling fans an 'uplifting experience'

Chief executive one of 70 staff members checking in with elderly supporters.

By Bruce Talbot • 30 March 2020

Paul Barber says checking in with elderly Albion fans during the coronavirus crisis has been an ‘uplifting’ experience.

The club’s chief executive and deputy chairman is one of more than 70 staff members, including owner Tony Bloom and head coach Graham Potter, who have been phoning fans aged over-70 to check on their wellbeing and to make sure they have food and medical supplies.

He said: “Twenty-odd years ago the community saved this football club so it was really important in this unprecedented period that we found a way to keep in touch.

“Yesterday I called five people, the chairman has called a few today. I know that Graham is doing some and Bruno is doing some, Andrew Crofts, Bobby Zamora and players from the women’s squad.  The first two people I phoned were in their garden, but they were really appreciative of the call. We had a good chat, a few laughs and joked about what they’d been up to. We checked and made sure they had the food they needed and any pharmacy requirements they needed.

“It’s a small thing we can do but I think it’s the right thing to do and it’s been great. It’s been uplifting for me personally, funnily enough, also the others who’ve been in the calls. It gives you a little sense you’re contributing to something.”

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion chairman Tony Bloom.

Barber says he is not surprised at how clubs at all levels have responded in their local communities to the current crisis.

“Football is made up of really good people who want to do the right thing and who realise how important they are to their communities particularly at a time like this. At the lower levels money is very tight at the moment but everybody is pulling together to do what they can. That’s why the ticket pledge to NHS staff was a small extra thing we could do but we also knew that other clubs would be doing other things.

“It’s a question of whatever you can do, however you can help, whatever difference you can make, now’s the time to do it. And I think it has shown that there’s a real heart and soul to the game which some people thought might have been lost over the years. But it’s very much there and very much in evidence.”

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