INSIDE ARSENAL: Our man at The Emirates

Matt Aldridge is a final-year sport journalism student who is currently on a season-long paid placement at Arsenal FC. As part of a regular column for Overtime, he will be revealing what life is like working inside one of European football’s biggest clubs.

FRIDAY (OCTOBER 13, 2017)

Today was a fairly quiet day for me, spent working in the office at Emirates Stadium on a variety of tasks. Every day there’s something for me to do, whether it’s posting the media watch on the club’s website, or sending news updates to the Nigerian text service we operate.

Top of my list today, though, was writing up the under-23s preview ahead of our game against Sunderland on Monday

https://www.arsenal.com/news/u-23s-arsenal-v-sunderland-preview

I also realised nearer to the end of the day that it would be Arsenal Women’s captain Alex Scott’s birthday on Saturday, so I needed to prepare our Twitter and Instagram coverage for for that by having a graphic created by a member of our team, which I would then post on our social channels.


One of my main roles as the student reporter is that I run all of Arsenal Women’s social channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This means providing regular updates so that they remain fresh and maintain interaction with our fans.

SATURDAY

Following the end of the international break, Arsenal returned to Premier League action against Watford, and having never been to Vicarage Road I was looking forward to this one.

On a first team match-day my list of responsibilities is lengthy, but my primary jobs on this occasion were; running the Instagram main timeline, Instagram story, Snapchat story, posting updates on Facebook and recording the boss’ post-match presser for transcription – followed by posting news lines on the club’s website. I generally arrive at the stadium two hours before kick-off so that I can prepare everything I need to do and make sure that I’m not rushing around.

It ends 2-1 to Watford at Vicarage Road #ArsenalNation #WeAreTheArsenal #Gunners #COYG

A post shared by Arsenal Official (@arsenal) on


That may seem like a lot, and it is to be honest, but after a few weeks in the job I feel like I have a routine nailed down and I’m able to work pretty speedily through things.

When running an Instagram story it’s important to get some build-up of the game. For this, I looked to get footage of the players behind-the-scenes and warming up, just stuff that the normal fan wouldn’t get to see.

This sort of thing does involve a lot of standing around in the tunnel area, which is a pretty surreal experience, as you get to see what goes on behind closed doors.  So far, out of all of the grounds that I’ve worked on apart from the Emirates, I’d say that Anfield had the best facilities, but I would like to give a big shoutout to Watford’s cookies, though. They were excellent.

Anfield: Behind-the-scenes

SUNDAY

My much needed day off, but even so I still had some work to do; I needed to write up the under-18s report from their win against Southampton.

https://www.arsenal.com/news/u-18s-arsenal-5-1-southampton-report

MONDAY

Today saw the return of the under-23s at Emirates Stadium where they faced Sunderland, amidst a bizarre orange smog in the capital.

One of my roles at the club is that I cover the under-23s, which is something that I really enjoying doing. There’s more access to them and I am able to interview the players and the coach after each game, which is invaluable experience.

As part of covering the under-23s, I provide updates on the main Twitter feed and on Instagram stories, so that fans can follow along. Although only a small part of the job, posting on the main Twitter feed can be a nerve-racking job, as I know that any spelling mistake is a potential Metro article in the making.

 

Following the game I send my match report to my line manager on the whistle and quickly head down to the touchline to make sure that I can grab one of the players for a post-match interview.

On this occasion I spoke with Vlad Dragomir, who scored the opening goal of the game.

https://www.arsenal.com/news/ive-waited-long-time-goal

Earlier in the day I wrote up a loan watch, recapping how our first team and academy players got on over the weekend for their various clubs.

https://www.arsenal.com/news/campbell-scores-betis-defeat

TUESDAY

Part of my role includes writing up all of the women’s and youth reports for the first team match day programmes. While we have a short and concise style for our website, there’s more room to be creative with the programmes, so I can flesh out the reports a bit more.

So, following last night’s game I re-wrote the report for the programme, along with some previous fixtures which were to be included.

In terms of all of the things that I need to do, I’d say that this is pound-for-pound my favourite. Not only can I be a bit more creative with my writing, but I also get a physical copy of something that I’ve worked on and contributed to.

WEDNESDAY

With the first team squad travelling to Belgrade for their Europa League game against Red Star, I was left at home and tasked with helping transcribe and upload news lines following the boss’ press conference in the evening.

Generally we send two to three members of our team with the squad to cover the game and the rest of us remain at home to provide support, with the wifi on trips such as this being notoriously bad.

During the day, though, I wrote up an interview I had with Reiss Nelson earlier in the month from our magazine for publication online.

https://www.arsenal.com/news/nelson-i-might-go-mma-after-football

Each year the student reporter is responsible for the monthly column in the magazine with one member of the under-23s. My predecessor had Chris Willock, while previous students have worked with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Nicklas Bendtner and Wojiech Szczesny.

THURSDAY

European match days are slightly different to a normal match day for myself, as I do all of my work from home, providing support for the members of the team who are at the stadium wherever it may be.

WiFi on European away days can be notoriously dodgy, so it’s useful to have someone back home who has a secure connection and can cover the social channels if things go down on site.

My responsibilities are effectively the same as they would be on a normal match day, however and I update the Facebook page, transcribe the boss’ press conference and post lines on the website as usual.

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