In Edition #219 of Industry Insider, we sat down with Charlie Gregory to have a chat about his career in sport so far…
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hello! I’m Charlie Gregory, a freelance sports journalist and social media manager.
I first entered the industry while studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford back in 2018. I began covering Salford City FC on a voluntary basis for the Manchester Evening News and made the role my own!
After graduating, I spent a year at the football club’s charitable arm, Foundation 92, as their social media officer, and then moved to a similar position at FansBet, where I spent the following two years producing content across multiple platforms.
What do you do in your current role?
I currently write for Lancaster & Crowther Sports Agency and have done since I left my role with the M.E.N. back in 2021.
Predominantly, I cover Stoke City and Huddersfield Town, writing match reports for the Sky Sports Scores app and their website, and then follow-up articles for the Sunday newspapers.
For every game, I’ll prepare statistics (form guide, head-to-head, birthdays, injuries, etc.), then piece it together as the match unfolds, submit my copy as the full-time whistle blows, interview the managers and players post-match and then write up further articles to keep the conversation moving on.
I’m another cog in the football journalism world that not many people see!
“Normal” isn’t a thing in sport so what does an “average” week look like for you?
I’ve recently been made redundant from my social media role, so my average week has suddenly become a lot quieter!
This year though, I’ve really been focusing on becoming a better journalist, so that’s how I’ve been spending my time. When you’re busy, it’s easy to drift into autopilot and not do too much reflection or self-assessment, so it’s been nice to stop and take stock.
With the extra time, I’ve been looking at improving my writing style by reading more articles, taking on as many games as I can and improving my preparation for fixtures.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I’d known that I wanted to go into sports journalism for a long while. Like most football journalists, I was a failed footballer first and foremost, so I soon took the goalkeeper gloves off and picked up a pen.
I remember a big turning point was when I wrote a piece about Kenny Jackett’s appointment as Portsmouth boss in 2017. As a Wolves fan, I felt very strongly about Jackett’s impact at the club and wanted to offer my thoughts, pay tribute and give him a glowing recommendation.
Pompey writer Jordan Cross shared my article, and it blew up from there. The reaction and kind words I’d received from the Portsmouth fanbase gave me such a buzz and a feeling I’d never had before.
That was the push and gentle encouragement I needed to pursue journalism, so I’ve got a lot to thank Jordan and Pompey fans for!
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
I think it all comes down to enjoyment. I’m at my best when I’m enjoying myself and working with a smile on my face. If that’s the case, I think it comes across in my writing and hopefully that translates to the reader, too. The day that I don’t enjoy writing and reading my own work is the day that I’ll leave the industry.
Can you tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?
I might as well go back to the very first game I ever covered as a journalist – Salford City versus Dagenham and Redbridge back in 2018.
For a then 18-year-old entering a press box for the first time, I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed, daunted and a bit of an imposter. So, you can imagine my relief when I recognised a familiar face – albeit a bit vaguely – before kick-off. I just couldn’t remember for the life of me who they were.
It was one of those moments where you’re side-eyeing them; “Have I seen him on telly at some point? Or did I just walk past them earlier in the car park? Wait, could they be a distant relative I’ve not seen for years?” Anyway, I eventually plucked up the courage to ask this potential great uncle/mystery car park man who they were and where I recognised them from.
Dagenham boss Peter Taylor replied: “I manage that team warming up over there.”
Safe to say, I was pretty embarrassed. And, safe to say, I’ve never headed into a press box as unprepared ever since.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
After being made redundant, I’m trying not to lose sight of why I got into the industry in the first place and I’m trying not to take anything for granted.
I’m so privileged to call writing about football my job, to sit in press boxes and rub shoulders with journalists I look up to, to interview people who are idolised by many, to write a piece that fans will spend their Saturday evening reading, and so on.
There’s so much about this job and this industry that is so magical, so I never want to forget that.
If 18-year-old me could see what I’ve done, see the stadiums I’ve visited, see the figures I’ve interviewed and see the people I’ve met and been able to call a friend along the way, I think they’d be chuffed – I’ve got to keep reminding myself that!
(Oh, and the food at Stoke is top notch, so the pre-match anticipation before entering the press room is always exciting.)
Sport is a hectic industry, what do you do to switch off?
I find it so difficult to switch off. I’m always on my phone and I hate not knowing what’s going on in the world of sport, even if it’s just a random transfer rumour or a midweek result from League One.
That said, I’ve taken a lot of solace in going to the gym in recent years. I don’t mind admitting that I’ve really struggled with my mental health in the past, especially throughout university, so getting into fitness has been a great coping mechanism.
2023’s had a bit of a rough start for me personally but going to the gym regularly has really helped me deal with adversity and given myself a constant purpose.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Get stuck in. Build your portfolio. Build your contacts book. Build your reputation. Make mistakes and learn and grow.
A degree is worthless compared to practical experience. Get out and volunteer to get that first step into the industry. It’s competitive and it’s ruthless, so when an opportunity arises, grab it with both hands.
How to connect with Charlie Gregory…
My website is charlieagregory.com, if you’d like to see my full portfolio.
Thanks for reading our chat with Charlie Gregory! If you want to read more from our Industry Insider series, you can do so by clicking here.