Anthony Taylor shares career experiences with sports journalism students
University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) sports journalism students were given a fascinating insight into the challenges of being a Premier League and FIFA football referee when Anthony Taylor took part in a question and answer session.
The 42-year-old refereed the Nations League Final between Spain and France on Sunday night in Milan before arriving on campus on Tuesday for the two-hour session with year one and year two students.
It is the third time the Altrincham-based official has given up his time to travel to UCLan to speak with students on the course, which was rated the best in England last week.
"His insight into refereeing was really fascinating and he gave fantastic answers and spoke openly in response to all of the questions that were put to him."— Year one UCLan sports journalism student Matthew Salmons
Topics on the agenda included his former life as a prison officer before becoming a professional football referee, officiating in major finals, the role of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), social media abuse, his fitness regime and his thoughts on the best and worst practices in sports journalism.
He also spoke at length about the incident in the Euro 2020 finals when Denmark captain Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch during a match against Finland which Taylor was refereeing.
Year one student Matthew Salmons said: “It was really inspiring to get the chance to hear from Anthony Taylor, especially as a referee myself.
“His insight into refereeing was really fascinating and he gave fantastic answers and spoke openly in response to all of the questions that were put to him.
“It was one of the best Q&A sessions I’ve been part of. I’d like to send a massive thank you to Anthony for giving up his time and also to the sports journalism team for organising such a fantastic guest.”
"His talk made me understand just how important it is to work with those who we write about rather than causing agitation with what we write. "— Year one UCLan sports journalism student Will Knight
Year one student Will Knight said: “His talk made me understand just how important it is to work with those who we write about rather than causing agitation with what we write.
“The Q&A was the highlight as we got to talk and ask about our own topics and questions, before we applied them to our own articles and radio work.”
And year two student Matt Smith added: “Being able to listen to, and speak with, Anthony Taylor was a real privilege and an honour.
“The insight he provided into elite level refereeing and all that comes with it, including several aspects that the average football fan doesn’t even consider, was unbelievable. He also batted questions back to students in order to get us journalists thinking, which is a key element of journalism. I could have listened all day.”
"He was typically combative and was happy to take some of the students on especially when it came to their views on ‘controversial’ incidents."— Andy Sykes, sports journalism course lecturer
Andy Sykes, sports journalism course lecturer, said: “As ever, Anthony was great value throughout the entire two hour Q&A and give full and honest answers to all the great questions our students posed.
“He was typically combative and was happy to take some of the students on especially when it came to their views on ‘controversial’ incidents.
“In particular, his detailed description of the Eriksen incident and the decisions made behind the scenes regarding restarting the match was a real eye-opener for many and showed a referee’s role is not just limited to the 90 minutes of action.
“We are immensely grateful to Anthony for his participation and look forward to him returning again next year.”
Students were tasked in the afternoon with writing up a story based upon the answers to their questions.