Other Published Work

Non-sport-related:

East Dulwich Men’s Book Club:

A three-minute video news package produced as part of my NCTJ diploma portfolio, which briefly explains what the club is, and includes interviews with members to gauge an understanding of how much the monthly sessions mean to them.

Sport-related:

Andy Murray: Queen’s Club hope five-time champion is fit to play:

A piece I was able to write and publish during work experience at Sky Sports News.

https://www.skysports.com/tennis/news/12110/11942842/andy-murray-queens-club-hope-five-time-champion-is-fit-to-play


Dulwich Hamlet vs Carlisle United, fans prepare for historic FA Cup first round tie:

This 90-second video fulfilled the mobile journalism requirement of my NCTJ diploma portfolio, and features fans of Dulwich Hamlet and Carlisle United speaking ahead of the Hamlet’s first FA Cup first round match for 21 years.

YE1 Spurs podcast

YE1 Spurs banner

Six regular pundits, aged between 12 and 62, who still believe it is lucky for Spurs when TheYearEndsIn1.

YE1 Spurs is a daily podcast, currently working its way back through the annals of Tottenham time in descending chronological order, to review a different season each day until the Coronavirus pandemic is under control, and the Spurs are back playing football.

Hosted by Podbean @ http://ye1spurs.podbean.com/
Available on Apple Podcasts @ https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/ye1-spurs/id1474531217, and other regular podcast providers.

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Covid-19 and the non-league: Cray Wanderers expect challenging times

Cray CEO talks postponement of football, the team’s great form before this break, and George Taylor’s special day, as London’s oldest football club honoured its centenarian goalkeeper this month.

George Taylor, Cray Wanderers
Centenerian ex-Cray keeper George Taylor was honoured at Hayes Lane this month (photo: @PaulMat51794654)

Cray Wanderers CEO Sam Wright has joined a host of other non-league officials in expressing deep concern for the English football pyramid, if Coronavirus is to close turnstiles indefinitely.

The Isthmian League confirmed the postponement on Friday of weekend and midweek fixtures, with clubs expecting further news regarding this Saturday’s league programme.

Wright, whose side play in the league’s Premier Division, backs the measures, but at the same time fears the highly damaging affect that months without matches could have on the game at that level.

“You can’t be disappointed because ultimately it’s about safety. Most of our fans are older, so is it a risk for them guys going to watch the game, more so than the players who are young, fit and will probably recover OK if they get it [the virus].” Wright said.

“A lot of people who watch non-league football are in their sixties and above. So maybe they looked at it from that perspective.

“But it’s hard. I’m now trying to work out what we’re going to do if we don’t play again this season. It’s a big chunk of income we’re going to lose. What do we do about paying players? It’s a bit of a headache.”

The Isthmian League’s approach mirrored that of the Premier League and EFL, which both suspended fixtures until the beginning of April at the earliest. However, the National League, one step above Cray, went ahead with its schedule, which did surprise Wright.

“I presumed that the National League was also off, because I heard that all of the top end of the pyramid; National League, Isthmian, and all that, were meeting together to consider what we do as the top-end of the non-league pyramid. But we [the clubs] don’t get a say at all really.

“They’re buying themselves a bit of time I think. They’ll make a decision middle of next week, but I think it’s [Covid-19] probably only going to worse over the few weeks and months.

“The big question is going to be what do they do; Premier League, EFL, all of them, if it does get worse as they’re saying and there’s no football till June, mid-June, late-June? You can’t roll this season into the next.”

The inevitable break comes at a particularly inopportune time for The Wands, who sit second in their league following an unbeaten run stretching back to Boxing Day.

Cray, whose, next scheduled home game is not until 29th March charge adults £10 admission, and regularly draw crowds of around 200, with 621 against Enfield Town in October being the season-high.

Wright added: “One thing we were gutted about is that we’re on such a run, and have really got some momentum going: won nine and drawn three since Christmas; unbeaten in 2020. We were raring to go again.”

“If we don’t play this week and next week we’ll probably be alright. It’s if we don’t play the rest of the season that’s the worry, and how that would work out for the non-league pyramid, at our level.

“A lot of clubs work to a really really tight budget line. Will it put a few non-league clubs to the wall? If suddenly for the next few weeks there’s no football at all.”

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate across the UK and abroad, it has already been a March nobody is likely to forget. But at Cray, the month did begin with a special event, when ex-goalkeeper George Taylor, who turned 100 years old in January, was honoured at Hayes Lane.

Taylor’s football career was cut short by World War II, though he has clearly not been forgotten by Cray Wanderers, who he played his last match for in 1938. Wright reflects on the memorable occasion.

“George had the most amazing day. He’s an unbelievable guy, for 100 years old, everyone was going ‘I can’t believe it!’ He walked onto the pitch on his own, he booted the ball, he lives on his own, he shops still for himself, cooks for himself, and he’s 100 years old!”

“We got a lot of exposure that week which is good for club. We were on talkSPORT, BBC Radio, Sky Sports News. We got quite a few interviews out there.

“We had a little bit of interest from a TV company on the back of it as well, about a possible documentary around London’s oldest football club [Cray Wanderers], the new stadium and that kind of stuff.”

Mourinho Likely Revising Judgement on Spurs Squad

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Mourinho applauds Spurs fans after first game against West Ham in November

Now, with top four hopes fading fast and no FA Cup to compete for, next Tuesday’s second leg in Germany looks astronomically important, as Spurs seemingly have one game to extend their season by another two.

After a fourth straight defeat last night, beaten by Norwich to end Tottenham’s FA Cup hopes, Jose Mourinho is probably now realising that his Spurs squad is not as good as he thought it was.

When appointed head coach in November, following Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking, Mourinho was brimming with praise for the playing staff that he would be inheriting at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

But fast forward two-and-a-half months, and a combination of injuries and several disappointing results against immediate rivals, both domestically and in Europe, will surely have the Portuguese re-assessing what he has at his disposal.

“I would love to be on the first of July, but I am not”, Mourinho said last month after defeat to RB Leipzig in the Champions League last 16 first leg, the first loss of Spurs’ current slump. Stark contrast to his sentiments right at the beginning of his reign.

On 21st November 2019, Mourinho said: “Players… the best gift are the ones that are here. I don’t need players, I am happy with the players that I have. I just need time to understand them better to know everything about them.”

Of course he has lost Harry Kane. Son Heung-Min is also a huge miss, plus Moussa Sissoko, who Mourinho named as a particular loss within those post-Lepizig comments. But when appointing a so-called super coach like him, a club and its supporters do expect such problems to be navigated slightly better.

That is what he is paid so handsomely to do after all.

The truth is the slide at Tottenham started long before this season. Form has been no more than satisfactory for at least 12 months, as alluded to in The Year Ends in 1 (YE1) podcast prior to the Leipzig match (https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/ye1-on-location-spurs-vs-rb-leipzig/id1474531217?i=1000466284995).

The YE1 team all but agreed that the 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley, at the same stage of the Champions League last season, was in fact the last truly convincing Spurs display.

It is another discussion altogether whether or not Pochettino was afforded due backing for his achievements in N17, but what should not be levelled at Mourinho is any kind of suggestion that the poor results of late are a new phenomenon.

Pochettino lost 13 Premier League matches last season, and won just three games from the middle of February. Form which has translated into this campaign under both bosses.

However, that is not to say that Mourinho could or should not be doing better. Why has the defence not improved? Why can he not adapt and find a way of playing without a recognised striker? Especially when he said what he did in November about the quality of the squad.

No manager can ever afford to walk into a club and believe that he cannot do more than the previous guy. But Pochettino also had periods without both Kane and Son. Not so much the double blow, but did nonetheless have to negotiate key absences.

Dele Alli too from last August to October.

Without Kane, there is no guarantee of goals. Not even when Son is available. Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela, Son, Alli and now Steven Bergwijn; they are all extremely talented, yet highly inconsistent players who excite supporters when their names appear on a team sheet.

But by half-time, fans in the stands, their armchairs and on Twitter are calling for changes, and whomever has not started is suddenly the answer; forgetting that they had not delivered from the beginning the previous week.

The loyal Tottenham fan base will have hoped that Mourinho’s side, clearly in transition, could limp over the line into next season’s Champions League, perhaps scooping a trophy too.

But in reality, the current campaign is sadly looking more and more like a write-off, and that serious attacking reinforcements are required, while stalwartly defensive assets like Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Danny Rose (out on loan at Newcastle) in fact do not have the second wind in them that they might have had.

Also, forget not that Christian Eriksen has gone, whose stats throughout his six-and-a-half years at Spurs are not to be scoffed at…

On Eriksen, I do have my own theory as to why he wanted to leave England, which goes beyond football. Feel free to DM me @SimRJWright on Twitter to find out what that is.

Now, with top four hopes fading fast and no FA Cup to compete for, next Tuesday’s second leg in Germany looks astronomically important, as Spurs seemingly have one game to extend their season by another two.