Second-year BA (Hons) Sports Journalism student Stephen Kilbey, winner of the 2014 Sir William Lyons Award for best young motoring journalist, reports on the latest in LCC’s popular series of sports guest lectures.
Award-winning authors David Goldblatt and Anthony Clavane recently tackled the good, the bad and the downright ugly sides of the ‘beautiful game’ as guests of LCC’s BA (Hons) Sports Journalism course.
Goldblatt’s latest book, The Game Of Our Lives, has been widely acclaimed as a seminal look behind the money-fuelled hype surrounding English football at its elite level.
Clavane, who is also a Sports Journalism tutor at LCC, is the author of Promised Land, about his emotional ties to his home city Leeds and its football club, which was named as both Football and Sports Book of the Year in 2011.
He also writes on football for, amongst others, the Mirror, Independent and New Statesman and is an authority on the Jewish influence on the English game.
On their agenda at LCC were hot topics including club ownership, recent incidents of racism within the sport, and the growing popularity of the women’s game.
“I think with the rise of women’s football, we should see a new type of following,” said Goldblatt. “I don’t know quite what it is yet, but I certainly think it will be better to see something other than a clone of the Premier League.
“Will it ever be as big as men’s football to truly rival it? I’m not sure… Women’s football still has a long way to go, but it’s certainly the most prominent it’s been for the public since its boom during the early 20th century.”
BA (Hons) Sports Journalism Course Leader Anne Coddington said after writing her 1997 book One Of The Lads: Women Who Follow Football, she expected to have seen more progress by now in terms of female fandom, roles within clubs and in the sports media.
Clavane illustrated the progress made in dealing with racism in football with anecdotes from his time supporting Leeds United while growing up, when it was still widespread among fans.
“It was hard,” he explained. “I actually gave up my fandom for a couple of years because it got too much for me.
“When there’s several thousand fans chanting the same obscene things at black players, your fellow supporters, sometimes people you’d call friends… The only way I found I could deal with it was to get up and leave.”
The session ended with some thought-provoking questions from the students, who left motivated and eager to continue the discussion.
Words by BA (Hons) Sports Journalism student Stephen Kilbey