Last season, a group of young aspiring journalists attended Brentford FC’s Championship match against Bolton on April 18th.
The five pupils from local schools were winners of the Danny Fullbrook Fearless Journalism competition – a collaboration between the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and the Fearless Foundation.
But there was another prize in store… after writing a superb match report on the Brentford v Bolton game, Fearless (with the help of Danny’s good friend at the FA – Joanne Budd) sent Joseph Brooks on his next mission – Wembley!
Here Joseph writes about his experience of being a Fearless journalist for the day:
2nd August 2015. The day had finally arrived: the Community Shield Match between the Barclays Premier League Champions, Chelsea, and FA Cup Winners, Arsenal.
I arrived at Wembley Stadium at 1.30pm and went straight to the Media Room. I was so excited! As we arrived I was told that I was allowed to go to the Press Lounge too. Now I was even more excited! From up in the Danny Fullbrook Lounge, I had an amazing view; I could see the whole stadium gradually filling up. On my right, blue flags, and on my left, red flags. The players soon began to warm up; I loved watching this. Next I was given the official team-sheet, which confirmed that neither Costa nor Sanchez had made the bench. We sang the National Anthem and then incredible fireworks shot up into the sky like two bullets which made my Dad jump! Kick off was close.
The match was a test for Arsenal. Wenger had not managed to beat ‘the Special One’ in thirteen attempts but this time, perhaps using Mourinho’s own style of play, he triumphed.
Arsenal took the lead in the 24th minute as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cut inside the penalty area and hammered a thunderous goal into the top left corner. There were plenty of chances for both teams; a close range header by Ramires, a one-on-one chance for Hazard, three chances in quick succession for Giroud and a squandered opportunity for Cazorla just before the final whistle, but the score remained 1-0. The Gunners have now won their last six matches at Wembley.
After the match, I attended both press conferences. The Chelsea Manager complained about the condition of the pitch and spoke of the defensive tactics of Arsenal.
Wenger played down the lack of handshake between the managers but spoke of the success of his new summer signing from Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. “Maybe it had an influence on the Chelsea players as they know that to score against him you have to score a perfect goal.”
The victory against the Champions must have given the Arsenal boss and his players a huge boost but whether this will be enough to stop Mourinho’s squad in the new season awaits to be seen.
Just before we left, I was allowed to go into the players’ tunnel where I had my photo taken with Falcao, Matic, Courtois, Blackman, Terry and Cahill. I then went down to the pitch and sat down on Mourinho’s seat on the Chelsea bench. I felt so amazed that I was actually sitting where the managers sit! I looked all around me at the fantastic Wembley Stadium thinking how incredible it was to be there and wishing that I could be there for every match one day!
On the big occasion, Danny Fullbrook’s mother Sylvie said:
“When I saw the photos of Joseph in Danny’s Media Lounge I had goosebumps and a tear, one of pride I might add. Firstly, Danny would never have believed he would be personally honoured in Wembley itself. And to see a young Joseph, maybe following in his footsteps, standing by his photo and plaque on the wall, I think he too would have shed a tear, but also felt very, very proud of Joseph and youngsters like him pursuing their dreams, which is exactly what Danny did.”
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If you would like to find out more about the Fearless Journalism Workshops then click here.