How do I know the world has turned upside down? My football ground is now a maternity clinic | Adrian Chiles


West Brom has been given over to postnatal care – and it turns out it’s a perfect fit. This season, for the first time, it’s babies rather than fans who are doing the crying

I left home this week to make a short film for The One Show on BBC One. As a journalist with a public service broadcaster, I’m within my lockdown rights to do so, by the way. But feel free to scoff long and loudly at the notion that I’m any kind of essential worker.

The film I left lockdown to make this week was all about keyworkers – midwives and nurses with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS trust. Early on in the Covid-19 outbreak, the trust was concerned that new and expectant mothers were increasingly reluctant to come to clinics and hospitals for checkups. The call went out for help. West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa football clubs put their hands up, and so it is that the executive boxes at the Hawthorns and Villa Park are ringing incongruously with the sound of babies crying. I’ve been watching West Brom at this ground every other weekend since April 1974, and I’ve heard all manner of wailing and gnashing of teeth there in that time, but never babies crying.

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