Thirty of our students travelled from Wembley to St George’s Park, and covered the National League U19 Finals Day.

UCFB students were able to participate in the event as part of our partnership with the National League U19 Alliance.

Lecturer Bob Ballard, along with help from Tom Skippings and David King, organised the trip with the National League and gave the media students the opportunity to cover the matches from commentary to video and interviews to social media.

Many of our students are given multiple work experience and placement opportunities to advance their skills in the sports industry. Read more about that here.

Bob Ballard said about the day: “Multimedia Sports Journalism team leader, Dave King, was looking after the students, the majority of them, who were looking after the National League’s social media outlets and those who were writing reports for the Non-League paper, regional papers and radio outlets.

“Those areas were dealt with very adeptly and the output from the First Year students would have put a lot of ‘professional’ writers to shame. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and even UCFB’s own account were updated regularly with, often, images to bring the Woking v York City game to life, and it did need it.

Tom Skippings, Bob Ballard and David King on the day

“Across the pitch, beside the dugouts, our commentary team were in full flow, Will and Cam had never met before but hit it off on air straight away.

“Our camera team of Oliver Cherrill, Liam McDonagh and Jack Craske were doing a brilliant job under testing circumstances and we started to feel like we were beating the odds a little by now.

“After the post-match interview conducted by Red Elton with the winning manager from York and their goalscorer, it finished 1-0 by the way.

Students Will and Cam on commentary

“5.45 soon rolled around meaning it was time for Ryan Jackson and Zak Anani to do the pre match interviews with the Hertford Town and Rugby Borough managers, respectively.

“The game itself was, to say the least, combative. Rugby were reduced to ten men thanks to a reckless challenge, Hertford came from a goal behind, the West Midlands side missed an open goal in the last minute of stoppage time and, so, we were treated to the spectacle of penalties.

“The advantage fluctuated between the sides as spot kicks were missed and when Rugby missed their final one there was pitch invasion which included the Hertford chairman. Not something we at UCFB, nor the National League, can condone.

Students on the day at St George's Park

“I was, for the second time during the day, involved in the cup and medals presentation, almost feeling like royalty... indeed I had to catch the cup when it was blown off its plinth… ‘Pickles’ eat your heart out (a 1966 reference there).

“There was a lot of excited chatter on the way back down the M1 before our arrival back at Arch View House Wembley around 11.30.

Hertford Town celebrating their victory

“A long day, certainly, a profitable one, undeniably – just looking at the students Twitter and LinkedIn accounts tells me that. Their first-year experience at UCFB has resulted in as many as four trips to broadcasters and football venues and several  industry experts coming in to talk to them about media-related areas.

“I posted recently about what I love most about this job. Wednesday the 3rd of May was it in microcosm. Talented students showing their abilities, is what the ‘National League report’ has at its core and will continue to promote during 2023/24.

To find out more about our sports media undergraduate degrees, click here.