Young Sunderland AFC fan scoops top award for his football insight

Finlay Anderson with the current SAFC chairman, Stewart Donald.
Finlay Anderson with the current SAFC chairman, Stewart Donald.

A fanatical young Sunderland AFC fan - whose work has featured in the Echo - has won a top journalist prize.

Finlay Anderson, 13, who has been writing match reports on Sunderland AFC for many years, was thrilled after landing a national accolade.

Finlay Anderson on the pitchside at the Stadium of Light.

Finlay Anderson on the pitchside at the Stadium of Light.

The Sandhill View Academy youngster was announced the winner of the national Stabilo Young Journalist of the Year competition.

He was chosen by the panel of judges for the article he wrote commentating on the first World Cup match between England and Tunisia.

Finlay beat hundreds of other young hopefuls, but stood out with his piece which was extremely well written, engaging and emotional, he has done very well to reach the winning spot.

The teenager, said: "When my parents told me that had won, I was ecstatic.

Finlay Anderson in the Sunderland AFC dressing room.

Finlay Anderson in the Sunderland AFC dressing room.

"I’m very proud of the achievement as it gives me more experience in the world of journalism and I dream of being a sports journalist when I am older.

"I have been writing match reports for Sunderland for the past six years now and I'm even interviewing the manager next week and writing a regular match day column in the programme for their home games.

"I’m extremely happy to have achieved this accolade."

As the lucky winner of the writing competition, Finlay will have his column published on the First News website, an announcement in the paper and win £1,000 worth of Stabilo products for his classmates.

The Sunderland AFC supporter’s love of writing spiralled since being encouraged by former teachers at Broadway Junior School, and he has even written blogs for the Echo.

Finlay has been keeping a portfolio since the age of eight, when he wrote a report after getting tickets for a Sunderland game.

He is already making waves in sports journalism, having been invited to meet BBC Radio Newcastle commentators Gary Bennett and Nick Barnes at the radio station’s studio.

He has also been visited by BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown, has had blogs published in the Echo and even did some video work for Sunderland AFC at one of the matches.