The football club phoning thousands of fans to stay connected during lockdown

Whilst fans have been unable to cheer on their teams from the terraces this season, football clubs across the region have been supporting their followers. 

West Bromwich Albion have been phoning fans who are lonely during the pandemic. 

With the help of their charity, The Albion Foundation and the Former Players’ Association, they say they have made over 8,500 calls to fans since March last year.

Doris Corbett is one of the many to have picked up the phone for a chinwag with someone from the Albion. 

Doris is one of the many fans benefitting from the phone calls. Credit: ITV News Central

Aged 79 and living alone, having a friendly voice on the other end of the phone has been a real help during lockdown. 

"I've spent quite a bit of time on my own and some days I think if I hadn't had the calls it would have been a very, very long day. I really appreciate what they're doing," she said. 

Baggies heroes like Tony Brown, Brendon Batson and Chris Brunt have all been on call to speak to supporters. 

It’s an opportunity for fans to discuss their favourite footballing memories with their heroes, or they can flag more serious issues like needing someone to get them food or support from the charity.

Staff from the Foundation have also played a large part in keeping fans connected with the club.

“You don't realise the power behind picking up the phone and making that call,” said Lucy Moore from the charity.  

“It feels like people are building up that trust within us, within the Foundation and they know that if they need anything then they've got somewhere to go to that doesn't necessarily have to be a family member. The Foundation feels like a member of their family at the moment.”

With a statue outside The Hawthorns, it’s safe to say Tony Brown is well loved at the club. Fans who receive a call from Albion’s record goal and appearance holder are often left in a sense of disbelief.

Tony Brown's statue outside The Hawthorns. Credit: PA Images

"The first thing they say to you is 'This is a windup!' but then when you get through to them and they realise it is me then they open up and tell you their experiences of following the Albion and the games and I've really enjoyed it,” said Tony.

“I think it makes their days, their week, and that's what it's all about isn't it? Cheering people up in these times.”

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