Albion are poised to forge links with Lewes Prison as part of a scheme to help inmates adjust to life on the outside.

Chief executive Paul Barber visited the prison on Thursday as a guest of David Dein, former vice-chair of Arsenal and the FA.

Dein is the brains behind a groundbreaking project to build relationships between football clubs and their local prisons.

He is threequarters of the way through a nationwide tour, talking to inmates and answering their questions.

Barber, a long-time friend and ex-rival when he was executive director of Arsenal’s North London neighbours Tottenham, accompanied Dein to Lewes.

It was Dein’s 92nd prison visit and he has 27 more to go in the UK.

Barber revealed: “He talks to anything between 30 and 100 inmates at a time about football, the Premier League and television and how the game has changed. Then he does a Q and A.

“He has been working behind the scenes to try and pair football clubs with prisons so we can help work with the prison to motivate and look after the inmates as best we can for when they come out, to try and give them a different perspective of what life on the outside can be like.

“David has got a personal crusade to link a football club to its local prison so that the two can work together. That’s something we are looking at with him and Lewes.”

During the visit, Barber met with Ministry of Justice officials and was given a guided tour of the prison - which has up to 742 inmates - by governor Jim Bourke.

Barber said: “It was a really worthwhile visit and a real eye-opener for me personally.

“David’s message is ‘you can’t change what you’ve done in your life, but you can change what you are going to do in your life’. The reaction of the prisoners was absolutely fantastic.”