Ahmed Shooble is a football journalist who has written for The Athletic, The Times and Sky Sports. He began his career as a Creative Access intern in 2019.
Where do you currently work and how did you get this role?
I’m currently a football journalist covering AFC Bournemouth for The Athletic. I’ve always wanted to work in sports journalism but football is my main passion.
I got the role through a mixture of perseverance, good luck and making myself available for any opportunity that came. I initially applied to be a junior editor at The Athletic and didn’t get the role but was given good feedback on my interview. A couple of months later, one of the editors reached out with the Bournemouth opportunity and I was tasked with watching their next game (which was that same night) and filing a match piece for the morning after. Apparently they liked it – so here I am!
Tell us about your career journey so far.
Well, it’s a short journey up to now as I only started in 2019.
Like most people, I’ve always been interested in writing and talking about sport but I felt I could add something different to what I was seeing and hearing from the experts. So, I began writing opinion pieces on a range of topics and, after a while, started to get some good feedback from respected journalists in the industry which prompted me to take a career in sports journalism more seriously.
After doing a six-week summer internship at The Times (which I got through Creative Access), I was awarded a scholarship to get my NCTJ qualification in sports journalism at News Associates – the number one journalism school in the country. Around three months after graduating, I joined The Athletic.
How did Creative Access help you reach where you are today?
Through Creative Access I was able to secure my first paid role in the industry with The Times and really get a sense of what it was like to work on the sports desk of a top publication. I was involved in a number of projects and big reads which made it to print which was also very exciting to see.
That opportunity then opened doors because having a publication like The Times stood out on my CV, the experiences I had there began to shape my understanding of how journalism works and I made a good impression with people who had left to join The Athletic which put me in good stead for the future.
So, Creative Access had a massive part to play in where I am today. The chance to intern at an established paper can be very hard to come by, but I’ll always be thankful to Creative Access for giving my career the best start I could have asked for.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?
Keep writing. If you can’t write, keep reading. There’s always something new happening in the world of sport every single day; so there’s no shortage of things to write or read about. Obviously take breaks, but the more time you dedicate to reading and writing, the better your understanding of everything – your craft, the industry, the talking points, what’s been said and what hasn’t. If you promote your pieces well enough on social media, that consistency could result in some influential people taking notice and potentially considering you for future openings.
Always try to be different. The best ideas are original so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If that means pairing football with a completely different art form, so be it. If the parallels are there and you can explain it well, you can’t lose. You will experience resistance but that’s all a part of being different.
No matter how surreal your opportunities may be, you deserve to be there.
Oh, and if you’re serious, take “aspiring” out of your biography.
What do you love about your role?
I love that I’m doing something I spent hours working away at in my spare time. I love my creative freedom when it comes to ideas for pieces. I love the people I work with.
But most of all, I love that people who look like me and grew up in areas like mine will see me in this role and get a sense that it’s possible to be in this space.