The Football Writers Association live event Liverpool
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Football Writers Association (FWA) live event in Liverpool. This is an annually event that discuses a range of footballing issues, in an open debate with a panel of journalist and ex-professional footballers. The debate occurs in front of an audience who are able to partake in the discussion. I took part in this as a representative of Liverpool John Moores University with two other students, Lee Reid and Robbie Hayes. As an Evertonian and media practitioner I was delighted to attend. The panel consisted of Paul McCarthy, the executive secretary of the FWA, Michael Owen (former Liverpool and England striker, now a BT Sport pundit), Alan Stubbs (Everton’s Under-21 coach), Andy Dunn (FWA chairman), Chris Bascombe (Daily Telegraph), Paul Joyce (Daily Express) and Jonathan Northcroft (Sunday Times). From start to finish it was a very enjoyable occasion, not only did we witness firsthand opinions from renowned journalists and personal sporting heros but we also provided with as much booze and posh nosh as we could consume. During the event I found out that the tickets would have been £25 for paying customers, which would have been a more than fair price considering how enjoyable it was. This left me feeling very fortunate that the University had offered us this opportunity, and also a little bemused more of my fellow students had not attended. During the event we had opportunities to meet some of the journalists and footballers that attended. This was possibly even better that all the free excellent food and drinks, even though the miniature steak and chips were excellent.We were seated next to the man who was writing an article for FWA on the event. He really was interesting and more than happy to converse with us about football and journalism.
The true highlight of the evening for me was meeting former Everton captain and now Everton under 21’s coach Alan Stubbs. At the interval I took the opportunity to speak to him and inform him I used to be a fan and enjoyed watching him play. This meeting proceeded to become a fifteen minute convocation, where we discussed the transfer market and the current shape of the Everton squad. Alan Stubbs was a really nice individual who seemed happy to spend time talking to fans. This sadly cannot be said for Michael Owen, the ‘Big name guest’ of the night. Owen a successful footballer for England, Liverpool and other major teams did not share the openness or politeness that the other footballing guest had shown us. Robbie a lifelong Liverpool fan who had been an adoring follower of Owen was sadly shunned on attempting to speak to him. This was a slight dampener on the event however that a side we all had a fantastic time.
I feel privileged to have attended this event and would recommend other students to take up other similar opportunities in the future.