Football Panel

A fascinating evening of informed comment on the “beautiful game” mixed with occasional insights into the more controversial aspects of the sport. Excellent contributions from all the panellists, under the expert guidance of local journalist and author Nick Szczepanik.


Journalists debate questions about English Football from a transfixed audience.
The Football Panel evening kicked off with Nick Szczepanik, author of Pulp Football, taking on the job of chairing, and he was flanked on either side by two football journalists. On the left Ian Winrow Football Editor at Wardles and Andy Naylor Chief sports writer at The Argus, then on the right Paul Hayward from the Daily Telegraph and Adam Powley Lecturer and acclaimed author.
First question coming from the audience was about Brighton and Hove Albion. Andy Naylor, Albion correspondent gave his expert opinion. The audience was incredibly focused and silent, you could hear a pin drop, as the opinions from the stage filled the hall.
Nick superbly fielded the questions with tact in his distinctive voice.
At the interval time the conversation of the audience flowed. Everyone was talking. Hum of voices rang around the hall into the rafters deep in discussion. The Hall suddenly became alive. The intense silence had been broken. Men and a few ladies huddled together in little groups with a pint enjoying football topics. The journalists mingling with the audience.
The second half was an open forum.
The audience returned to their seats now more involved and more vocal and asked direct questions regards journalism and stories coming to light. Censorship and sensitive topics like Youth football and the controversy involved.
A question generated a discussion about the Arsenal manager then moved onto the Tottenham manager.
“What happened to Manchester’s bid to be the centre for football or does London still command the top players due to the high wages?”
The journalists commented on the chaos of agents and agencies over owning footballers especially the very top players.
A point was raised for the need for regulations to be put in place.
“Is the FA fit for purpose?” a direct question from someone in the front row. The conclusion – the urgent need for reform.
English football was compared to other countries and the revenue it generates.
Heated topics stirred up at the close of the evening lightened by humour and the wit of Nick Szczepanik.
Angela Mackay

Photos courtesy of Andy Hasson – andrewhasson@btinternet.com