I pulled plug on teaching career to write about Liverpool – The Athletic | #teacher | #children | #kids

“What do you wanna do?” That’s the question my mum kept asking me like some crazed career adviser I hadn’t paid to see.

It was a grey day in Birkenhead back in 2018. Her question was met by several shrugs of the shoulder. “I don’t know, I don’t know,” I told her. She soon, like any skilled parent to five children, found a way to prise an answer out of me.

I had just returned from an interview to start teacher training, which I was spurred on to do after a tough start to the year losing my stepdad to cancer. Teaching had always been in the back of my mind as something I could thrive at, particularly after a stint living in Madrid where I taught English.

And so, with the world feeling like it was closing in on me a little, I thought being a teacher could help wash away the clouds of grief that had followed me. When you experience a loss so close to home like we did, I think it wakes you up to the true reality of life. We don’t have all the time in the world, so we must do what we love and what makes us happiest.

The interview went well and I was offered a place on the course. As soon as the offer was made, my heart dropped and something clicked. This wasn’t what I loved. This wasn’t what was going to make me happy.

“Well, what is it you really love?” was my mum’s reworded question.

That was easy. The first answer was, and always will be, Liverpool Football Club. The second answer was writing.

Her swift reply, which probably wouldn’t make sense to a lot of people but made the greatest sense to me, was: “Do that then!” Nothing like your mum channeling Nike’s “Just Do It” to push you in the right direction.

I immediately reached out to a friend and asked was there anything I could do that would help me break into sports journalism with the end goal of combining my two greatest passions: Liverpool and writing.

They pointed me in the direction of a journalism diploma at the City of Liverpool College. The idea of going back to study near to the University of Liverpool campus where I earned my undergraduate degree in Irish Studies and English felt like the chance at an academic rebirth of sorts. So, I plunged myself into my studies and reached out to anyone who’d have me to write or speak about Liverpool.

Work with The Anfield Wrap and other media outlets in the city followed. This included some life-changing work experience at the Liverpool Echo. At the end of that week, I was on such a high and knew I’d made the right decision.

A community sports role at the Echo soon cropped up and in December 2018 I started working at the paper. In January 2019, I was invited to join the sports desk as a fully fledged football writer. A Champions League, Super Cup, Club World Cup and Premier League title would follow. I’d like to think I was a lucky charm but I think that has more to do with Jurgen Klopp and co…

Fast forward to August 2020, and two years after my big wake-up call, I was offered the job as staff writer for The Athletic. When the call came, I couldn’t quite believe it. The dream I’d been chasing, to be able to write solely about the club I love on a daily basis, was finally within my grasp.

I’ve now got this incredible opportunity to take my career to the next level. To have the time, space and platform to bring you the creative, in-depth and uninterrupted Liverpool coverage you crave. The kind of coverage that isn’t on offer anywhere else.

I’m thrilled to be working with The Athletic’s outstanding team of journalists, including James Pearce and Simon Hughes. Having admired the work of The Athletic from afar over the past 12 months, I really do keep pinching myself that I’m now a part of it.

I can’t wait to bring you closer to the action, to the next generation of Liverpool players, to the team we all adore.

I do all this as a lifelong Liverpool fan who has for the past decade travelled home and away many times by myself — but never alone. I’ve always felt part of something special going to the game.

My grandad John, who turned 83 in May, first went to Anfield in 1948. So, it’s safe to say our family has a longstanding, 72-year obsession with the mighty Reds. That passion for the club drives me on to bring you the long reads you can mull over with a coffee, the must-have breaking news, the stories you add to your reading list because you want to enjoy them in peace and quiet.

Writing for The Athletic feels to me as much of a dream come true as it did to stand in the Wanda Metropolitano and watch Jordan Henderson lift the European Cup.

What a time this is to be writing about Liverpool Football Club. 

My journey with The Athletic starts here, and I look forward to you joining me on this great adventure.

(Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

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