- Now to say this year hasn’t been challenging is rather rude in my honest opinion.
Well firstly, I ended up starting the year behind a bottle of Budweiser which was followed by an argument with friends of mine from college. The following day saw me begin the first of my 65 games that I was set to see this year at Harlow Town where I froze in the second half whilst Canvey Island managed a 2-2 draw.
Now half way through the month, I openly revealed that I wanted to take on a new challenge in football given it had been 3 months since I had last been involved in football on a volunteered basis. However, once I had openly revealed my intentions, I got heavily criticised for this movement and I had to make a swift u-turn..
That same month saw me attend my first major meeting as a member of the Young Essex Assembly where I contested a seat as UKYP Rep only to lose to a few members who came up with the same vote for me speeches that were quite literally textbook speeches that I had heard before.
March 4th remains a fantastic day for me as I finally visited the Houses Of Parliament for a tour which was then met with a trip to see my favourite musical Jersey Boys at the Piccadilly Theatre with my family for my Nan’s 70th birthday present. To say I loved it is rather an understatement of how it was for me.
On March 22nd, I happened to be in Fenchurch Street on route to Westminster for a APPG Youth Affairs Meeting when the Westminster Attack happened. Thankfully speaking, my family was at home watching the news when it unfolded so they quickly rang me up to let me know what had happened so immediately, I rearranged my plans and within 20 minutes, I was on a train home out of London.
Next, I bring up the club Great Wakering Rovers. I went to 3 of their games in January, February and April of which I loved all of the games despite the results not going too well. The club was being run by my now-good friend John Galley and at the end of the April game which happened on Easter Saturday against Brentwood Town, the club asked if I would be up to take on the role of Commercial Manager.
I spent Easter Sunday with my family and I decided over lunch that I would take on the role but after my season had ended the following Saturday. However, that following Saturday saw me see Canvey get relegated from the Ryman Premier following a 2-2 draw with already-relegated AFC Sudbury which was followed by a few arguments with a few people.
I was at Wakering for 4 months of which you could argue was full of fun yet hardship. I tried to implement a community attitude to getting new people into the club throughout my time there. I did try to get Essex County Council Youth Services and even the local youth groups like Scouts, Guides and schools involved but given it was the end of the school academic year, it was a battle already lost before I had joined the club. I was looking at September before I could implement any community plans.
I left the club in July due to amounting pressure. I have no regrets over leaving given my finances were ruined and I needed some kind of financial help but there was nothing available for me and given I was getting two buses that took me an hour to get to the ground and that’s without mentioning printing costs. I went back to watching Canvey for the time being.
What is nice for me is that I’ve remained in contact with a small group of friends who have now gone over to nearby Southend Sports FC which continues to thrive.
June also saw me travel to London Euston for the AtTheMatch Networking Event to represent Wakering but following my departure from the club a few weeks later, I continued to go to the events held throughout this year but to represent myself as a freelance journalist who wants to get into the media industry.
August proved to be weird for me. I went to Newcastle and Edinburgh for a week whilst a few days later, I ended up getting my BTEC and GCSE results at college. I passed my BTEC in Performing Arts and my English GCSE but I failed my Maths GCSE.
Because of my downfall in Maths, I had to change my Business course to Media instead. It frustrated me that I couldn’t move onto a Level 3 course like my friends but I suppose everything happens for a reason in that case.
As much as I left Performing Arts in the summer, I do continue to stay active in the arts by currently working on a few scripted projects that I hope to get put into production in a few years time on both the stage and in film if possible.
October saw me make trips to see Concord and Bowers & Pitsea. The latter for the first time and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting both clubs. It was the first time visiting Concord since I had written my article about the chances of both Canvey and Concord merging a month before which had been well received by Concord fans and officials.
November saw me make a first in watching National League South football for the first time between Concord Rangers and Gloucester City in a well-fought match which ended 1-1 whilst it was that same month that saw me hand in my resignation to Southend Youth Council after 2 and a half years of service to them and deciding the time was right to seek new horizons. I also realised that I was also going into my 12th year of youth politics and I felt rather too old to be fighting the good fight anymore.
As for December, it saw the end of some traditions for me. I said goodbye to my friends at Southend Youth Council whilst I spent Christmas in Looe, Cornwall with my Media portfolio receiving the addition of a new Canon DSLR that I’ll be using at matches in the new year. I made final swansong visits to Bowers and Concord as a 17 year old before heading off on holiday just a few days later.
In football this year, I’ve learned who my true friends are in the game. I’ve made many good friends whilst I’ve lost friends who didn’t like the fact that I don’t always see Canvey every week and I’ve lost others who didn’t like it that I didn’t want to be part of their project for whatever reason it may be.
Overall, its been a tough year for me but its been one where I’ve learned plenty and I’ve met some fantastic people along the way. I want to thank everyone for their support this year and I can guarantee that 2018 will be bigger and better for me so stay tuned.
All the best in 2018