TONY Bloom has heralded Albion staff’s unshakeable focus during a testing Premier League season.

The club owner and chairman revealed players were forced to train at home initially as the coronavirus crisis brought the English game to a sudden halt.

But, despite enduring a tumultuous few months at the hands of the pandemic, Albion were able to secure Premier League safety with a game to go, finishing with their highest top flight points tally to date of 41.

And this was thanks in no small part to the efforts of club staff.

Mr Bloom, pictured right, said: “I am very impressed by everyone at the club. It starts with Graham (Potter), the staff and the players who have been very focused during those few months when they didn’t know what was going on.

The Argus:

“They were training at home initially and then were allowed into the training ground.

“Psychologically it’s tough. It’s tough for everyone in the country, and the world for that matter.

“But they had to stay focused on the job at hand because when games restarted they came thick and fast so they needed to be ready physically and mentally.”

He also made it clear that his praise extended far beyond Albion’s playing staff, with everyone at the club having to make stark changes ahead of the return of competitive football.

Mr Bloom said: “Our wider staff had a huge amount of protocols to get ready to return. There was huge amounts of work by so many people behind the scenes, so credit to them in trying circumstances, both at the club and also privately.

The Argus:

“It’s not easy sometimes working from home, juggling with kids, perhaps looking after elderly relatives.

“I have been massively impressed by everyone, who have been brilliantly led by our chief executive Paul Barber.”

Albion made an impressive return to football following the coronavirus-enforced break, taking points from the likes of Leicester, Arsenal, Norwich and Burnley to calm Mr Bloom’s nerves.

He said: “It was never easy being in a situation for three months, being just above the relegation zone, but Graham, the staff and the players have done brilliantly to get us out and into a position whereby we are still in the Premier League next season.

He said the winner against Arsenal “put everyone in a much better state of mind” and taking three points against Norwich meant everyone was “feeling relatively comfortable”.

But Mr Bloom admitted that the financial challenges presented by the pandemic, which saw stadiums emptied to stop the spread of infection during the latter part of the season, were “significant”.

The Argus:

He is expecting a major shift in the financial landscape within English football, with more large-scale changes becoming apparent in the coming weeks.

Mr Bloom said: “The financial challenges are significant, although we are certainly looking better today than we were in March, April and May when we weren’t quite sure what the future held.

“Covid is still with us so we’re not playing with fans which is a significant loss of revenue.

“We had hits with the broadcasting revenue from the season because we weren’t able to finish the season in the allocated time.

The Argus:

“It’s not easy but we just have to manage our budget as best we can although it is perhaps going to impact the following season with future transfers.

“There are a lot of pieces of the puzzle to juggle. It’s a challenge for not just us, but all the teams in the Premier League, even the bigger clubs.”

It has been confirmed that the 2020/21 Premier League season will begin on September 12.