Calling all budding football writers… here's your chance to enter the world of journalism
Sportsmail has teamed up with Barclays to launch a search for Britain's next big football writer.
You have the chance to showcase your talents to the world with our brilliant competition.
In conjunction with Barclays and the Football Writers' Association, Sportsmail is on the hunt for the next star of the written word.
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If you are aged between 16 and 30, we are offering you a superb chance to break into the world of sports journalism.
We want you to write a feature or match report on the Barclays Premier League to be judged by a panel of experts.
The winner will be given the chance to join a top FWA journalist at a top-flight match at title-chasing Manchester City later this season.
And they will also be handed a week's work experience at the MailOnline for the chance to showcase their talent.
Three runners-up will win the chance to have a meeting with a leading FWA journalist.
For full details of how to enter this unique competition, please click here for the football writer competition.
Sportsmail's Matt Barlow (right) – one of our London-based reporters – has taken part in a Q&A on life as a football writer.
Did you always want to be a sports journalist
I think so, once I overcame the delusion that I might be a professional footballer. I loved football and loved newspapers and it seemed to make sense as a career. I enjoyed my time as a news reporter but made the right choice to branch off into sport.
Tell us how you got into the industry
I took a one-year post-graduate course at Sheffield and then worked as a news reporter through regional papers in Salford, Matlock and Hull, where I took the job covering Hull City for the Hull Daily Mail and broke into sport. From there I went to the Press Association and national newspapers.
What was your biggest break
My first job at the Salford City Reporter. Like most budding reporters, I found there were plenty of rejection letters flying around at the time.
What has been your best moment as a sports writer
Pinch-yourself moments like covering the World Cup final or the European Championships final. Or realising you just witnessed one of the greatest goals ever scored like Lionel Messi’s against Real Madrid in last year’s Champions League semi-final.
…and your worst
It is never nice to chronicle human tragedy. A young Hull City player died of meningitis during my time covering the club. I was at Hillsborough when 96 Liverpool fans died, not as a working journalist but I did write about it for the Mail, 20 years later.
How has the job changed since you first started out
Sport is covered in more detail than ever before by more outlets, particularly electronic media.
Are you optimistic about the future of sports journalism
Yes, there will always be a demand for information about sport. I only hope the quality of journalism does not suffer from the quest to deliver more and more, faster and faster.
What advice would you give to any budding young writer
Don’t give in at the first dead end.
For full details of how to enter this unique competition, please click here for the Barclays Aspiring football writer competition.