Albion staff, from the top down, will be back on the telephones this week.

They will be ready to talk about coronavirus concerns, health and safety, maybe football – and perhaps even some gardening.

Chairman Tony Bloom, chief executive Paul Barber, head coach Graham Potter and other senior figures have been on the phone to elderly fans.

They have found it an uplifting experience themselves.

But Barber was slightly surprised when he made his first call during last week’s fine weather.

He said: “Twenty-odd years ago, the community saved this football club.

“It was really important to us to make sure that in this period, and it is unprecedented, we found a way to keep in touch.

“I know that Graham is doing some and Bruno is doing some, Andrew Crofts is doing some, Bobby Zamora is doing some.

“It’s quite interesting when you phone people.

“The first two people I phoned weren’t actually in or didn’t answer.

“That was a little bit disconcerting.

“They were actually in but were in their gardens.

“Came back and called me straight back.

“They were really appreciative of the call, we had a good chat, we had a few laughs and jokes about what they’d been up to, what they shouldn’t get up to.

“We checked and made sure they had the food they needed and any pharmacy requirements they needed.

“They were really great people to talk to.

“They were all in their mid-70s and another couple in their early-70s who were tending their garden when I called.

“I ended up interrupting their nice afternoon in the sun.

“It’s a small thing we can do. 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.”

Barber believes clubs up and down the leagues have shown what a big part they can be of the community.

The calls have been going out across the country and clubs have supported how and when they can.

He added: “I’ve been really impressed but I’ve not been surprised.

“I think football clubs up and down the country, all 92 plus the clubs in the Conference, are doing what they can.

“Football is made up of really good people who want to do the right thing from the top of the clubs right the way through the staff and players and coaches.

“Clubs realise how important they are to their communities, particularly at a time like this.

“We’ve got some resources. We haven’t got huge resources in some cases.

“In the lower levels money is very tight at the moment but everybody is pulling together to do what they can.

“That is why the ticket thing (in which Albion ring-fenced 1,000 free tickets for NHS staff) for us 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 football has shown that, actually, 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, it’s very much in evidence.”