A Wearside student has clinched himself a place with a Premier League club.
But, Matt Riggs won't be taking to the pitch with West Ham United, instead the sports journalism student, who graduates from the University of Sunderland this summer, will take on an editorial role at the club.
Matt beat hundreds of other applicants to net the 12-month editorial internship at the club, writing for the Hammers’ various publications and producing content for their multi-media platforms, from match day programmes to Snapchat.
It was the 21-year-old’s versatility and experience which landed him the role, having spent the last two years of his degree juggling his studies alongside his voluntary role as Blyth Spartans' Senior Press Officer, SpartansTV Producer, Radio Northumberland co-commentator and Matchday Magazine Editor.
That knowledge and confidence he has gained while studying at Sunderland has certainly been put to good use. Within the first three days of the new job Matt was asked to interview celebrated West Ham players both past and present, including Teddy Sheringham, Trevor Sinclair and Dean Ashton, as part of Captain Mark Noble’s Testimonial game.
Matt said: “Working with West Ham’s media team is an amazing opportunity and I’ve certainly been thrown in at the deep end in my first week. It was a surreal moment, but also very cool getting a phone call from Teddy Sheringham."
Lecturers at Sunderland will be supporting Matt, as he completes his final year dissertation, before he graduates in the summer, whilst working full-time.
Dr John Price, Senior Lecturer in Journalism, said: “Matt has been an outstanding student who has done all the right things to give him the best chance of a successful career in the sports media.
“On top of all that, Matt is a pleasure to work with and displays great enthusiasm and determination. His success will hopefully provide inspiration for future students.”
Asked why he chose to study at Sunderland, Matt said: “I’ve wanted to write about sports, in particular football, for as long as I can remember. After attending an open day at Sunderland, I just knew this was the place for me.
“I certainly made the most of the degree and any work-related opportunities on offer. Without these external experiences such as working for SportsByte and Blyth Spartans, I would not be in the position I am today."