Pupils’ footy business plans

St Mary's students representing Wigan Athletic at the Enterprise Challenge finals
St Mary's students representing Wigan Athletic at the Enterprise Challenge finals
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FOUR Year 9 students from Astley St Mary’s High School represented Wigan Athletic in the North West finals of the Premier League Enterprise Challenge at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

The annual competition for high school students supported by Sport Relief involves Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore setting young people a business challenge to solve related to the football industry.

Teams from five football clubs – Burnley, Derby County, Liverpool, Manchester United and Wigan Athletic – competed, presenting their ideas for this year’s challenge: how to encourage fans to spend more time at football stadia on match days.

The St Mary’s students, who were chosen to represent Latics by a panel of judges including chief executive Jonathan Jackson, proposed introducing a link between the club and online taxi services and a credit aspect to season cards.

They presented their ideas in front of judges Iain Webb, Premier League partnerships manager, Sue Wicks, UK grants manager at Sport Relief and John Brady, development officer for GreaterSports, before touring the Etihad Stadium as they waited for the winning team to be chosen.

Dave Jones, the enterprise team’s support teacher at St Mary’s, said: “The boys were in awe when they arrived at the stadium in the morning, being shown to a box where they could rehearse overlooking the pitch and then having a full tour of the ground was a great experience in itself.

“They did themselves proud, presenting and answering the judge’s questions very well.”

Manchester United’s team from Swinton High won and progress through to the next round.

Mr Jones said: “It’s a shame that they didn’t progress any further in the competition but it was a fantastic day overall.

“Thank you to the staff from the Premier League for making the event a real day to remember for our team.”