I have always been a sport obsessive, from playing imaginary cup finals in my back garden as a kid – and always scoring the winning goal – to devouring any form of sport news over more than 20 years as a journalist and now as BA Sports Journalism course leader here at USW.
Many moons ago, I harboured hopes of being a professional footballer. I played for Wales at three different levels as a youth, I had trials with Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City before signing schoolboy forms with Luton Town aged 14.
It was never just football with me though, I wanted to try everything.
I’ve captained my village cricket team, I played off a handicap of six at golf and I’ve had some brief forays into rugby, tennis and boxing.
The thrill of competing and the friendships and life lessons I have taken from sport are things I will always value and cherish.
I hope my passion for sport shines through in the way I teach and interact with everybody on this course.
While I never found fame and fortune on the field, I did manage to make a living from sport – writing and talking about it for WalesOnline, various agencies and broadcasting outlets for more than two decades.
I started as a trainee news and sports reporter on a weekly newspaper, the Gwent Gazette, which was based on Ebbw Vale high street above a butcher’s shop. I’d work every Sunday to put together the sports pages taking calls from local clubs about everything from football to bowls.
I went on to work as a senior sports writer and later a manager on the sports desks of the South Wales Echo and Wales on Sunday and also at Westgate Sports Agency which supplied sports news and features to the London-based national titles.
I’ve been lucky enough to ghost-write three autobiographies and provide live coverage of FA Cup finals, Rugby World Cups, British and Irish Lions tours, Ashes cricket, the Ryder Cup and a boxing world title fight in Las Vegas.
I regularly provided comment and analysis of sport for commercial radio station phone-ins as well as segments on BBC Radio Wales.
Just before moving full-time to USW, I was assistant head of sport at WalesOnline, having worked through a transformative print-to-digital era for the media industry.
Given the increased profile of Welsh sports and sportsmen in recent years, the sports media sector in Wales is absolutely ideal for a sports journalism course. The location, partnerships and staff expertise we have at USW make an attractive all-round package for prospective students.
The course will be run between USW’s Cardiff Campus, a hub for the creative industries, as well as our Sport Park in Treforest, which is home to the University's sports teams. Students will be responsible for match previews, match reports and post match interviews as well as finding stories on a regular basis.
We’ve also got very strong links with the sports media industry and the wider sports sector, so as our students progress through the three years their opportunities to work alongside professionals will increase. This course will appeal both to those who see themselves working in traditional sports journalism jobs like football reporters or cricket commentators as well as communications or social media officers and marketers for sports brands or personalities.
I'm looking forward to working with people who adopt the ‘eat, sleep, breathe sport’ mantra.