“A Tough Week”

Coming off the bench to score the winner in the final felt like just-reward for Treon Johnson, who says the Hornets' Under-18s had a challenging but rewarding week in Japan as they won the Global Arena Cup. 

The 1-0 defeat of Nagasaki was one of five games in four days for the young Golden Boys, and Johnson admitted it was more a mental battle than a physical one by the end. 

“After loads of back-to-back games everyone was tired and had to push themselves through,” he explained, back at Watford's UCL training ground. 

“I started on the bench and that's always disappointing, but it gives you an opportunity to prove a point. It was great to come on and score the winner.

“I think it was important to be mentally strong because my body felt like it was breaking down. Getting the goal, then digging deep to defend to keep the lead throughout the second-half was a challenge but we got there in the end.”

The tournament took the scholars well out of their comfort zone, both on and off the pitch, Johnson citing the difference in style encountered against Japanese opponents as a new experience. 

“It was good being in a different culture, getting used to the way they played,” he said. 

“They were quite small and agile and we're used to playing against big defenders at home. 

“Playing against guys more similar in size to me was a challenge, I had to work out how to overcome them a different way.”

Look out for an in-depth interview with Academy boss Chris McGuane in the coming days.


Kick It Out | Tackling Discrimination

Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, has partnered with the Home Office and True Vision to release a series of informative and engaging resources that raise awareness of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) discrimination within football stadia.

Forming part of Kick It Out’s ‘Call Full Time On Hate’ initiative for the 2016/17 season, which is urging the collective force of football to encourage inclusion and deter hate from the game, the resources were launched on the same day (March 22) that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) hosted a round-table meeting on homophobia in sport.

A short film raising awareness of LGB&T inclusion in the game has been created in partnership with Doodle Films and can be watched below. The film follows five individuals from the LGB&T community as they reflect on the impact of HBT behaviour on their lives and the importance of reporting discrimination in football.

A comprehensive booklet and small pocket guide have also been designed to assist stewards and safety officers in their understanding of HBT discrimination and how to effectively challenge this behaviour.

Following the recent publication of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee report on homophobia in sport, which stated that stewards and all staff at all levels must be supported when confronting and reporting homophobia, these new materials will equip matchday stewards and safety officers with the confidence to report HBT discrimination at football matches.

‘Tackling Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Behaviour at Football Stadia’ is a 12-page booklet which has been produced with support from Just A Ball Game? and Inside Inclusion. The booklet includes information on what HBT discrimination is and the role stewards and safety officers can play in reporting and challenging this behaviour.

Ten key steps to tackling HBT discrimination have been included in the small pocket guide accompanying the booklet. 10,000 pocket guides have been produced and distributed to stewards and safety officers across Premier League and English Football League clubs. Discrimination reports relating to sexual orientation made up 17% of reports to Kick It Out in 2015/16, a rise of 4% on the previous season.

All these resources will be available to download digitally for free on the Kick It Out website – www.kickitout.org