VIDEO: DMU student reflects on Wembley trip for FA Cup final

By Oliver Taylor

De Montfort University student Luke Pawley was one of the 6,250 Leicester City fans at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, May 15.

Luke was selected as one of two lucky journalism students to attend the FA Cup final.

With tears in his eyes, Luke watched as the club he has supported for his entire life lifted the trophy for the first time in its history.

Luke said: “I got a message about it first and I thought someone was winding me up! I then got a call and had it confirmed.

“I was there working for DMU as well so I knew I had a job to do there, but the overriding feeling was just pure, personal excitement.”

Football pair’s Road2Pro social media brand takes off

By Joshua Solomon

Two grassroots footballers are taking their future careers into their own hands by starting their own social media pages.

Antonio Dembele and Aaron Ceasar have created a social media brand called Road2Pro – a day by day capture of their lives which shows their intense 1-2-1 training sessions, match highlights and fitness programmes.    

Antonio and Aaron have both played for an array of teams such as Sutton United, Leatherhead and Melwood FC and have now decided to add the media aspect as a way of getting attention. 

Already they have gained traction on Instagram with more than 600 followers and millions of viewers.

Antonio said: “The chances of being seen by a scout by playing just Sunday league football is very low, so we thought what would be a way of getting a light shone in our direction.

“That’s how this started really. I have a level 3 media qualification so I know I could make good video content.”

The pair started their Instagram page at the turn of the year during lockdown. 

The Instagram page has gauged a lot of attention due to the quality and transparent nature of the videos. Major sport platforms such as 433, who have more than 30 million followers, grassroots goals, tekkers and ESPN have all reposted videos. 

Following the success of the videos and updates, the pair have worked with one of the best trainers in the game, Sammy Moore, who is a youth academy owner, to fine tune their skills. 

Also, they have received plaudits from professional women’s player Ella Bryan who plays for West Bromwich Albion and various coaches from around the world such as German coach Tobias Esche. 

To find out more, visit their pages at:

Instagram: road2pro._

Twitter: road2_pro

TikTok: road2pro

Opinion: Does European Super League spell the end of football as we know it?

By Thomas Carter

It was the announcement that took the footballing world by storm. The proposed formation of a European Super League, in which 12 of the continent’s powerhouse clubs (including six English teams) compete in a division of their own. Somewhat inevitably, the reaction to the news has been one of uproar and resistance.

Members of football communities took straight to social media to voice their discontent, with the new league coming under fire from pundits, managers and players alike.

Among the larger concerns is the idea that the formation of a Super League would create further separation in a climate already riddled with financial division, in what would be the most seismic shift football has observed since the creation of the Premier League in 1992.

As of today, the 12 clubs that would make up this new division include: Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

They are known as the ‘Founding Clubs’, with a further three teams expected to join the list in the coming days.

While the resistance from the fans has been evident, there is no denying the Super League’s financial backing, with American giants JP Morgan investing $6bn into the project.

As more details are revealed and the fury within the football sphere intensifies, a glaringly-obvious issue is getting lost in the adversity – this was inevitable.

Football is no longer the game of the people, and hasn’t been for years. Instead, it is controlled by a select few at the top of the financial chain. With that in mind, it has surely just been a matter of time before something of this nature took shape.

In England, the Premier League has long been known as the ‘top six teams and the rest’, as though either ends of the table are different divisions. This has been observed across Europe for decades, with powerhouse clubs dominating their respective leagues. Taking this into account, the formation of European Super League, in which these clubs only play those of the same quality, is hardly an unrealistic step within a game driven by revenue.

Another issue, however, comes with the new league’s proposed format, which would see no promotion or relegation – this is not football.

The very core of the sport is reliant on opportunity and progression, with teams battling it out to climb higher than they are, regardless of their stature. If a select few clubs play in their own exclusive league, one they are only in on a matter of wealth, then the soul of the game has been sold.

Ultimately, the formation of a European Super League, while a natural progression in a climate that facilitates greed and profit, would be a sad moment in the history of football.

Through further economic division and the very desire to progress being removed for almost all teams, this new division would certainly see the beautiful game enter its darkest hour.

Community Football Academy to cycle 300 miles from London to Paris for mental health awareness

Pictured: The charitable cyclists raising money for the mental health pandemic

By Jessica Smith

The Leicestershire based Community football academy training children and adults, is taking part in a huge 300-mile cycle to raise money for Mental Health Awareness this summer.

The ‘CFA Ride for The Future II’ is set to take place from August 12th – 15th, as volunteers and coaches from the academy plan to cycle from London Trafalgar Square to Paris, a mammoth distance of 300 miles in 48 hours.

Imran Govaria, 42, the academy’s volunteer social media and marketing correspondent, said: “Our charity work is not done for fame or fortune – CFA have a platform and we aim to use our influence in the community to raise awareness on the issue.

“Mental health affects everyone; and so many people still don’t feel comfortable speaking out, especially in the BAME community. That’s why we’re hoping by doing this challenge we’re able to raise money to educate the community to address this issue. We’ll be surviving on a minimum of 5 or 6 hours sleep, but it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make to raise awareness for mental health.”

The academy aims to raise around £25, 000 with the donations to its GoFundMe page, as its 15-20 volunteers take part in the difficult cycle this summer, with support from local charity Rahma Mercy, which support refugees, giving a sizeable donation and increasing the charity’s reach.

The institute hopes to reopen their doors gradually from March 29th, with 300 children enrolled returning for training, which for some is the vital lifeline they need to stay off the streets. 

 “The academy offers an escape, and it’s amazing to see children smile and be themselves in a safe environment.

“There was nothing like this when I was a child, so it’s so important that they feel comfortable to approach coaches – safeguarding is key for us.

“Rain or shine, our volunteers are there for the children, because we care genuinely care about their futures,” added the father of four.

The academy has raised money in the past for many local causes; a 136-mile cycle last summer raised £20, 000 for Leicester General Hospital’s Neonatal unit, where most of the club’s members were born, a trip to Albania in 2019 to help local orphans, and a further fundraising challenge raised money for Help the Homeless Leicester.

“Charity starts at home, and that’s why we raise money for local charities. We’re a small academy trying to do a good thing for our community – this is just the beginning for us.”

Donations can be made at the GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/cfa-ride-for-the-future-2

Excitement grows as Leicester City fans are set to return to stadiums

By Jayden Whitworth

Leicester City fans are eager to get back into stadiums as the much-anticipated reopening for live matches edges closer.

Football stadiums have been locked down for just over a year now and with the Government announcing the roadmap out of lockdown, fans will be encouraged by the prospect of stadiums reopening by the end of the season.

On February 22, the Government announced that outdoor, seated events can resume from May 17, allowing 10,000 people to attend or 25 per cent capacity, whichever is lower.

For Leicester City fans this means there is the potential of having 8,000 fans at the King Power Stadium for the curtain closer against Tottenham Hotspur on May 23.

Virtualised: Phil Holloway hosting one of his match day watchalongs.

It has been especially difficult for Leicester City fans as, unlike some teams, they have not had fans in at all this season.

As a result of Leicestershire’s high COVID-19 rates, its stadium was not able to reopen to limited capacity earlier in the season.

Phil Holloway, of Leicester Fan TV, said: “I think there has been a mental health impact for some fans.

“Obviously the bigger picture is that people have to be safe.

“I don’t for an instant want to go to the ground at the moment while coronavirus is still around.

“On the other hand, the fact they have broadcast all the games live on Sky and BT has been a bonus.

“In a way, that is one of the few things that you can look forward to and in a way Premier League football has kept us going in these lockdowns.

“Yes, of course we are all missing the experience, for me it’s going down with friends and family and having that chat before, during and after the match face to face with people.

“We are doing it online now; we are doing online watchalongs and Zoom calls, but it is not quite the same as meeting down there and sharing a pint and debating what you have just seen.”

Phil Holloway and others at Leicester Fan TV have done their best to keep the Leicester community together and engaged by running weekly match watchalongs and discussion with Foxes fans.