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Archive for October, 2012

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BSc (Hons) Psychology

Show Racism The Red Card Lecture with Olivier Bernard

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Today we had a guest lecture from anti-racism educational body ‘Show Racism The Red Card’ with one of their educational officers, Craig Bankhead and former Newcastle United left-back Olivier Bernard.

It made for a really interesting afternoon and was incredibly insightful particularly given the present scrutiny on racism within football. To begin with they showed us a video explaining what the organisation is about and how they go about tackling racism by educating youngsters in primary schools. The difference between Show Racism The Red Card and ‘Kick It Out’ the other organisation dominating the sports pages in the papers at the minute is that Kick It Out concentrate on eliminating all forms of discrimination within the game whereas Show Racism The Red Card work on educating people from all walks of life and social background with more of a focus on racism in particular. They believe that by targeting schoolchildren and young adults,they can help to eliminate the problem of racism in society in the future.

During the lecture Olivier made many valid points about current race issues in football, such as his belief that Danny Rose’s red card in the aftermath of England’s U21 European Championship Qualifying Play-Off match against Serbia (during which he was subjected to racist taunts) should be rescinded. (Rose kicked a ball in the air in disgust at the abuse England’s black players had suffered during the game.)

However he did concede that he doubted Serbia would be severely punished for their wrongdoings and that Uefa President Michel Platini and FIFA President Sepp Blatter were both ‘old fashioned’ and ‘out of touch’ with their views on racism.

He also stated that he believed Jason Roberts and the rest of the high profile footballers who chose not to wear the promotional ‘Kick It Out’ t-shirts over the last few weeks had done the right thing. Bernard’s argument was that their actions weren’t a statement against Kick It Out but an opportunity to raise awareness and get people talking about what is still a big issue within the game and to that effect it had been successful.

The lecture was part of our Sports Writing module in which one of our essay titles is about ‘the issue of racism in modern day football.’ So it gave us all an opportunity to ask questions and get relevant quotes for our assignment due in early next year.

Overall, it was a really relevant and engaging lecture and certainly one that I think most people got something out of. I even got a little re-tweet from Olivier Bernard himself on Twitter when I was talking about the upcoming lecture beforehand, which is always nice!

Former Newcastle United left-back Olivier Bernard now works as an ambassador for anti-racism body 'Show Racism The Red Card'

Work Hard, Play Even Harder!

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

I’ve probably not blogged as much as I should have over the last few weeks but I have been ridiculously busy I can assure you all! This is the first full week I’ve spent in Sunderland for a month because I’ve been going home every weekend for one reason or another: my birthday, someone else’s birthday, to play football etc

Anyhow, this week I’ve remained on Wearside and plan on being up here in the North East until the Christmas break now! Apart from one week in mid-November that is… As part of my ‘Sports Writing’ module it is mandatory for me to complete a work placement, on the sports desk, at a newspaper and as luck would have it after polishing up my CV a little, I’ve managed to land a week at The Independent in London! This really isn’t bad going considering I threw in the towel with shorthand in my first year and missed my NCTJ exams last year due to studying abroad!

So that’s something I’m really looking forward to but am also equally nervous about! Whilst it will be great to work at a national newspaper for a week, it’ll also give me a good insight into whether or not I’m cut out to be a journalist or not. The Independent is based in Kensington which obviously isn’t too shabby of a place to be working and as I’ll be in a hotel down there for a week, I’ll be trying to see some of the sights as the only places I’ve visited in London have two sets of goalposts and four stands!

I’ve also spent time working on my personal project which is equivalent to what a dissertation would be on most courses. I am a massive Crewe Alexandra fan and so I have chosen to create a new supporters website for the club as my project. ‘The Gradian’  named after the legendary former Alex manager, Dario Gradi, will be launched imminently! I’ve had to conduct market research and extensively plan the layout of my website as well as trying to set up interviews with players and staff, past and present which has certainly been a challenge! But nonetheless I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and choosing something I’m so passionate about could yet prove to be a very shrewd move on my behalf. (I’m still looking for more people to do the survey for me. It takes two minutes and you don’t have to be a Crewe fan or male to take part and it would be massively helpful to me!) 

On Friday my housemates and I all went on the Route 69 Geeks and Freaks pub-crawl! It was a great laugh and gave us a much needed blow out even this early in the year! The Route 69 pub-crawls take place every few months and always have a different theme, you take in all the best pubs and clubs in the city and everyone usually ends up in quite a state by the end of it! It’s definitely well worth a go if you’ve never done it before!

Route 69 Geeks and Freaks

Me and Fletch on the Route 69 pub-crawl


I’ll be posting my first video diary soon, so stay tuned for that enthralling update!

Take care,



Tour Of My Student House And An Inside Insight Into Student Life

Monday, October 15th, 2012

For today’s blog I thought I’d give you all a quick tour of our student house here in the heart of Sunderland! Whilst I was at it, I also posed a few impromptu questions to my house-mates about University life in general and got some surprisingly interesting answers!


Celebrating My 21st At Uni

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Last Thursday (4th October) marked my 21st birthday and after a brief trip home to leafy Cheshire I was back in the North East by Friday afternoon ready to embark on a crazy weekend of celebration!

My mates from Crewe came up for the occasion and joined myself and some of my Uni friends for a wild night out in Newcastle on the Saturday! Pre-drinks at the house were amazing, with Fifa, Beer Pong and The Word Association game all playing their part in getting us suitably tipsy before heading over to the ‘Toon.’

Once there I was typically ushered into the infamous ‘Dentist’s Chair’ at Sam Jacks nightclub much to the amusement of my mates! As it was my 21st I was pretty game for anything they had lined up for me and so didn’t complain too much when they sent me up for a second stint in the chair either! I think every single drink I had that night came with a shot of Sambuca which for me is a nightmare because I’m a genuine ‘Buca Puker.’ But overall, from the hazy memories of the night that I have and judging by the photos, I think I had an amazing time anyway!

Sunday morning was another story however! The place was a tip and I was VERY hungover! We somehow got through the day  though and were then faced with a daunting fixture for our 5aside team (Maroon 5) that evening against an outfit made up entirely of actual Cage Fighters! The inevitable physical battle that followed was pretty draining but we fought valiantly and with three minutes left were 9-8 down, only to end up losing 12-8 as the hangovers got the better of us and we capitulated devastatingly! Nevertheless, we’ll hopefully do a little better in the first game of the student league on Tuesday evening.

To cap off a very memorable weekend we then booked a trip to Malaga for early December! After some deliberation we decided that this would be a good way to spend our bursaries for passing second year and as Sports Journalists we plan on taking in the La Liga fixture between Champions League new boys Malaga and relegation candidates Granada. I always think it’s important to have something to look forward to and as the final year of Uni seems to be quite full on I think by the time the festive period is upon us, the break will be more than welcome!

My 21st Birthday Cake


Five A Side Football In Sunderland

Monday, October 1st, 2012

When we’re not studying or tearing up the town, my house-mates and I can often be found over at Goals Football Centre playing in the 5aside leagues and tournaments that they put on all year round. The facilities are excellent, with 3G synthetic pitches, modern changing rooms and even a bar area to relax after a game.

Our team ‘Maroon 5’ played in their student tournament on Saturday and had a brilliant day, despite being knocked out in the quarter-finals! Nevertheless it was a good laugh and only cost us a tenner to enter! We played three group games and then our quarter-final and were offered either 10 free bottles of Carlsberg or our next game at the centre for free. I know everyone’s expecting me to say we took the beers… But we didn’t! There’s some rather frugal fellows in this household and the prospect of saving money proved all too tempting for them!

Yesterday (Sunday) we played our first competitive fixture of the season in what’s known as a ‘grading match.’ These games are designed to assess what tier of the Goals league pyramid your team should enter at. Due to our decent run in the tournament and a 3-3 draw against skilful outfit ‘The Elite’ on Sunday we have been placed in the Sunday Night Premier League.  Many are predicting that this season could well result in a relegation battle but there are still those that believe ‘Maroon 5’ have enough in the tank to cement a solid mid-table position!  Of course I shall keep you all updated on our progress!

Although we’re playing in the adult’s league on a Sunday there is also a Tuesday night student league that we’re entering too. Our policy this year is to play as much football as possible because we absolutely love a good game of five a side, the pitches are just around the corner and it’s fast, frantic and great for the fitness!

My good friend Kyle Stewart whom I met whilst studying abroad in America last year has come over and embraced English football at Goals. We’ve signed the ‘Yank Tank’ up for ‘Maroon 5’ and he’s already started banging in the goals regularly! He’s adapted impressively and says that he particularly enjoys the physicality of the English game! There are also plenty of other foreign students at the University of Sunderland who play in the five a side leagues and it’s a fantastic way of meeting people from other walks of life.

Kyle Stewart

My American Friend, Kyle Stewart posing for a pre-game mug-shot

Incidentally, our team name was inspired by our choice of kit this year, after hours scouring the internet we set our hearts on the somewhat obscure Northampton Town home strip from the 09/10 campaign, hence ‘Maroon 5.’

As I said I’ll keep you fully up to date with our progress over at Goals and hopefully we’ll manage to maintain our Premier League status on a Sunday whilst fighting for the student league title on a Tuesday! Who knows?!

Maroon 5

My five aside football team



Student Profile:

  • Name: Jamie Baker
  • Age: 21
  • Studying: Sports Journalism BA (Hons)
  • Hometown: Crewe
  • Ambitions: To become a major sports journalist, travelling the world and reporting on all the major events.

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