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Monday 30 November 2015

Je Suis Charlie

Students from Southampton Solent University’s BA (Hons) Sports Journalism programme recently visited Wembley to watch the friendly England v France game.

Before watching the match, the students joined fans from across Europe to honour victims of the Paris terror attacks.

France’s national motto on display outside the stadium

The 16 students represented the course and the University well, proudly singing ‘La Marseillaise’ alongside the French supporters.

Matt Masson, a first year Sports Journalism student, said: “After the recent events I didn’t think the actual match was going to be that important to everyone, but it was still very interesting and I learned a lot.

“It was particularly special for me to be there because I grew up in France – and have loads of friends there – so I wanted to show my support.”

It could have been a nervous night for the students, with the Germany v Holland game being cancelled earlier that evening, but football fans and well-wishers arrived at the stadium in their thousands.

Players and fans reflect on recent events

Charlie Price, a Second Year Sports Journalism student, said: “At no point was I worried about going on the trip. In fact, it was quite the opposite: I was excited about being part of such a momentous occasion and being part of the tributes.

“I had an idea about how big the occasion was going to be, but the media hype was nothing compared to actually being there.

“I wasn’t scared or afraid, but I really got the sense that this wasn’t just a football match. The whole experience was really valuable.”

The students who visited the stadium

Sports journalism lecturer David Reilly, who also went to the game, said: “We gave the students the opportunity to have a full refund if they didn’t feel safe going to the game but they all wanted to go.

“I was really proud of them for the respect and support they showed ahead of the game.

“It also really showed how sport can unite countries and I think it sent a public message, around the world, that the people of England and France weren’t going to live their lives in fear.”

Visit our journalism homepage to find out more about studying journalism here at Southampton Solent.