Talented Sunderland AFC fan dreams of career in sports reporting

Finlay Anderson in the Sunderland dressing room at the Stadium of Light.
Finlay Anderson in the Sunderland dressing room at the Stadium of Light.

A teenage football fanatic is putting pen to paper as he seeks a future in the beautiful game.

Finlay Anderson, 13, has been writing match reports for five years and dreams of a future career as a sports journalist.

Finlay Anderson meets Sunderland manager Chris Coleman.

Finlay Anderson meets Sunderland manager Chris Coleman.

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

Proud mum Wendy Anderson, of Hastings Hill, has told of how Finlay has been keeping a portfolio since the age of eight, when he wrote a report after getting tickets for a Sunderland game.

Wendy said: “The headteacher of the school, Margarita Acklam, used to give pupils a little treat if they did well.

“She gave Finlay two match tickets and as a thank you, he wrote her a match report.

We’re very proud of what it does and the fact that he has an insight into what he wants to do at such an early age is really good

Wendy Anderson

“It has just gone from there.

“He loves writing and is progressing really well, with lots of people always praising his work.

“It’s definitely what he wants to do as a career.

“We’re very proud of what he does and the fact that he has an insight into what he wants to do at such an early age is really good.”

Finlay Anderson at a Sunderland game away to Queens Park Rangers.

Finlay Anderson at a Sunderland game away to Queens Park Rangers.

Finlay now goes to Sandhill View Academy and lives at home with mum Wendy, dad Robert and sister Chloe, 17.

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 a match earlier this season.

Wendy added: “He has met quite a few people because of this, but just takes it all in his stride.

Finlay Anderson meets Sunderland players Kazenga LuaLua and Ovie Ejaria.

Finlay Anderson meets Sunderland players Kazenga LuaLua and Ovie Ejaria.

“The videos he did at the Sunderland match opened his eyes to that side of things as well, because before that it had just been the writing.

“For his age, he has had really good experience and has a good knowledge of what he wants to do.”

Following Sunderland’s relegation to League One, Finlay wrote the following blog:

Relegation is now confirmed! It is not what anyone wanted but for a long time, we have known our own destiny.

Coleman had said that in the previous matches that our performances have improved but in the match against Burton Albion, there was somewhat, no difference. I have to say it was worse! It was like a training game with no urgency or excitement, being 1-0 up we hardly attempted to improve the goal difference, we only started when we conceded.

We have to rebuild right from the top of the club. The club needs a new owner who cares for the club and knows the fans. I have said it before but we should keep Chris Coleman although he doesn’t know how to get out of League One, to give him a chance to build his own team. If he doesn’t get any money in the transfer window to work with, then I think that he will leave the club.

Finlay Anderson pitchside at the Stadium of Light.

Finlay Anderson pitchside at the Stadium of Light.

We must start planning for the future now as we have two games remaining in the Championship against Fulham and Wolves and we should win these games to take the confidence into next season.

I think if it is possible, we should keep Paddy McNair and attempt to build the team around him.

Also, we must start next season and even pre-season positively. We will be facing some clubs like Accrington, who will be desperate to beat us, almost like Burton this season, but we need to avoid thinking about that to start winning. Everyone needs to get behind the team to try to push them on for promotion back to the Championship with a team who gives passion and desire to win football matches home and away.