As a sport data journalist, I write about both player and team performance statistics and off-the-pitch sporting issues.
My first submission is an investigation into how the Premier League’s top clubs are using their academies as a source of income rather than as a source of talent.
The investigation – which was based on publicly available transfer logs and news reports – showed how young boys are trained up by clubs and then sold for huge sums of money despite them making either zero or just a handful of appearances for the first team. I revealed how England’s six richest clubs brought in an incredible £114m from academy player sales in just four years, including £71m by Manchester City alone.
The story cast new light on the debate around how big clubs use their academies, and was also published in the Mirror.
My second submission was an investigation into how MPs are receiving hugely expensive free days out watching sport – often bankrolled by gambling firms and other lobbyists.
I used data-scraping skills to obtain the data through the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, discovering MPs had received a staggering £123,798 worth of free sporting tickets since the last election. Speaker John Bercow had done particularly well, with £12,929 worth of tickets at the time of writing (it’s since gone up).
The investigation was used by a number of Reach’s regional titles, including Insider.co.uk, GloucestershireLive (https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/cheltenham-news/gloucestershire-mp-whos-accepted-7433-2151621), GetSurrey and the Birmingham Mail and was also picked by The Times.
My third submission consists of exclusive figures I obtained, using the Freedom of Information Act, showing how much it costs to police football matches – and how much forces recouped from the clubs.
I was able to show a huge disparity in practice, with Manchesters City and United paying Greater Manchester Police nearly £2m during the 2017/18 season – while all London clubs combined paid the Metropolitan Police just £442,091.
My stories sparked huge debate among fans around the country, and it was notable that the BBC followed up with a similar investigation two weeks later.
Another FOI I submitted to the police revealed the complaints that members of the public had made against them at football games.
Another one of my projects showed how cities; football rivalries are geographically distributed.
What makes this project innovative?
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
Source and methodology