Your Local Arena at Writing on the Wall

As part of Writing on the Wall’s digital festival this year, Your Local Arena project brought out an iconic football film from the BBC Arena archives. Watch the panel response video, and listen to and read the exclusively commissioned poems that accompanied the screening of the film.

by Amina Atiq

‘Price of Glory’
by Ashleigh Nugent

Football Men poets: Amina Atiq and Ashleigh Nugent. FInd out more about them and read their poems below
Panel response film

The Football Men – The Price of Glory charts the incredible success that legendary football managers Matt Busby, Jock Stein and Bill Shankly brought to their clubs during the sixties and seventies, and examines their later years. Presented by sports writer Hugh McIlvanney, the film evokes memories of the glory days of English football at a time when the game was all that mattered.

Viewers were invited to watch The Football Men and then hear our three local experts share their thoughts what it means to them. In this accompanying film made exclusively for YLA, which can be seen above, Anfield Wrap’s Lizzi Doyle, writer and lecturer Emy Onuora and Daily Mirror sports writer Brian Reade provide insightful views on The Football Men and what we can learn from those times today — as sporting fans and as communities.

Football Men panel l-r: Lizzi Doyle, Emy Onoura, Brian Reade

Lizzi Doyle is the producer of The Anfield Wrap Podcast, Liverpool FC’s largest fan media organisation, which reaches 80 countries around the world. By the age of just 23, Lizzi had produced the two longest broadcasts in, Radio City’s, Liverpool’s biggest commercial station, history: the Hillsborough Inquests and the 24-hour Mental Health Marathon. She was the station’s first female sports producer and has gone on to win multiple awards for her work as a producer. Through her work producing The Anfield Wrap’s podcasts and appearing on national media platforms, Lizzi is pushing for more female involvement in sports media.

Emy Onuora grew up in a football-mad Nigerian household in Liverpool and is the author of ‘Pitch Black: The Story of Black British Footballers.’ He was co-editor of ‘What’s The Score’ a Merseyside based football fanzine. He has written on issues of racism and football for a number of publications including the Guardian. He is currently undertaking research issues around football, race equality and leadership. He is the brother of Iffy Onuora, former manager of Lincoln City and the Ethiopian national team and England under 21 coach and former Gillingham, Swindon, Huddersfield, Sheffield United and Tranmere striker. His sister is Olympic, World and Commonwealth 400 metre sprint medallist Anyika Onuora.

Brian Reade is an award-winning journalist and author who has two-weekly opinion columns, one on football, in the Daily Mirror. He was born in Liverpool and began his career on the Reading Post in 1980, became a columnist on the Liverpool Echo in 1990 and joined the Daily Mirror in 1994. The British Press Awards have named Reade Columnist, Sports Columnist and Feature Writer of the Year, and awarded him the Cudlipp Award for Journalistic Excellence for his Hillsborough campaigning. He has written two books, 43 Years With The Same Bird (2008) about a life following Liverpool FC, and Epic Swindle about LFC’s doomed Hicks and Gillett takeover, which made the Sunday Times bestseller list. In 2018 he wrote and narrated a documentary about trade union leader Jack Jones called Unsung Hero. He lives in Liverpool with a wife, three kids and a Kop season ticket.

For a cultural take on the Arena film, we’ll be featuring new work commissioned from two of Liverpool’s finest poets: Amina Atiq and Ashleigh Nugent. In a city where football rules, how do its multicultural residents and communities identify? And what if you simply don’t like the game? How do you fit in? Enjoy the explorations which seek to connect football to the wider world.

Amina Atiq is a Yemeni–Scouse writer, performance artist and activist. She was awarded the LJMU Citizenship award for her active and community engagement work and awarded as a Young Associate for Curious Minds. BBC Words First Finalist 2019. She is currently a remote resident of Metal Southend, working on a new and exciting project, exploring a pamphlet for Yemeni women writers. Recent work involves a new commissioned poem for the ‘Yemen in Conflict’ project which will be used part of a multimedia exhibition at the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival. Her next upcoming commission is in collaboration with Imperial War Museums, responding to What does Victory mean? Atiq’s work explores the conflict and beauty of her dual identity, taking us on a journey to her heartland, Yemen, and her homeland, Liverpool. She is currently producing and writing her first one-woman show, exploring a 1970s Yemeni- British household to untangle what it means to belong.

Ashleigh Nugent is a writer and performer with over twenty years’ experience. His latest work, Locks, is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel set in a Jamaican prison. Locks, due to be published in summer 2020, won the 2013 Commonword Memoir Competition and has had excerpts published by Writing on the Wall and in bido lito magazine. Ashleigh’s one-man show, based on Locks, has won support from SLATE/Eclipse Theatre, and received a bursary from Live Theatre, Newcastle. The show has garnered rave audience reviews following showings in theatres and prisons throughout the UK. Ashleigh’s other published work includes poems, articles and academic writing. Ashleigh is also a director at RiseUp, where he uses his own life experience, writing and performance to support prisoners and inspire change.

As part of the event, local historian and writer Tony Wailey offered a video writing workshop with invaluable tips for writing your own memoir pieces – and he gave feedback on the first 8 pieces sent in. Whether you want to share a story about supporting your club or a non-sports piece about life in Liverpool, there is something for every aspiring writer to learn from this seasoned author.

Tony Wailey is a historian and the author of eight books including pocket size novels and three collections of poetry. Originally a seaman, his work concerns the cosmopolitan nature of the maritime city. He wrote Edgy Cities with Steve Higginson which featured in the 2007 Writing on the Wall festival and spoke at the festival on the work of George Garrett. Click the link to read Tony’s evocative memoir of Liverpool FC’s 1965 Europa Cup match against FC Köln, written in 1998 in response to a piece by Jurgen Kisters of the same football match:


To find out more about Your Local Arena’s nationwide tour, visit:

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