By Andrew Haines
I’m not sure how many people read this blog or how many will make it past the first few pars. However I have been charged with the task of rounding up and finishing off our trip with the final blog post for those of you who have been following our coverage of the UEFA Women’s EURO. So where do I begin with rounding off the best journalistic work and life experience us 12 students (including honorary Derby Uni student Joe Perch) will probably ever have?
As far as finishing the first year of University goes, reporting on a major football tournament and getting the access to players and at matches that some journalists would never get in a lifetime’s work is probably the best you could hope for anywhere.
Across 28 group stage and quarter-final games, 16 days, six cities and one country we have derived knowledge and experience from our lecturers and journos that have been in the business for years to stand us in the best possible stead for the future.
We have had articles published on huge platforms in our time out here, including; The Manchester Evening News, Birmingham Mail, Glasgow City FC, Arsenal FC, Liverpool FC and countless others. We have made content across several multimedia platforms and provided commentary on every game we have attended, giving us all invaluable experience.
Our camp for the past 16 days at the StayOkay hostel in the beautiful, picturesque city of Utrecht was made our home, where some friendships were made and others certainly strengthened. The StayOkay became a base of operations where every morning we would have a briefing and the plan for the day would be made before we were sent out into the world of journalism to do what feels more like fun than a job. It’s extremely doubtful the StayOkay staff will read this but each of us owe them a massive thank you for putting up with us.
As previously mentioned, the access we have had to players has been remarkable. When you can walk down the street and say hello to England manager Mark Sampson and apologise for messing up in the interview you had with him the night before in the mixed zone (I’ll hold my hands up that was me) or see players in every direction you look. Like the experience Holly, Frankie and Molly had when Jill Scott and Jodie Taylor got off of some bikes right in front of them on the first day, you just know the access and closeness of this tournament has been brilliant. We’re grateful for the access we’ve had a big thank you goes out to UEFA, the FA and England women’s football communications manager Catherine Stewart.
It’s been a long, tiring and extremely busy 16 days with massive ups and some downs, but I’m sure every person that has made the trip will feel like going home has come too soon.
To sum the trip up in as few words as I have is criminal, but I’ve tried to keep it short. We will all come back to our second year in September better and much more rounded journalists (and that’s not just because of the amount of fast food we’ve had).
We’re heading home but it’s not the last you’ll hear of us I’m sure. Watch this space the world of journalism.
The final word must of course go to our amazing lecturers. Through months of painstaking planning and effort they have managed to get 12 teenagers out to Holland, navigate and ferry us around to all of our games. Pete and Keith have been the true heroes of our EUROs coverage and I’m sure what they’ve done for us and the experience they’ve helped us to get will not be forgotten by any of us any time soon.
Thank you Pete and Keith!