Whilst we’ve all been moaning about deadlines and workloads, Connor Pearce has been following his beloved Cardiff, up and down the country, home and away. And you can hardly call them ‘home’ games for an LSE resident. Well, unless you include a 300-mile round trip in your definition of a ‘home’ fixture.
“I’ve only missed one match this season, a home game against Southampton in December.” Says Connor with a wry smile on his face. “It was the day after Carol, so I’m sure plenty of people can understand my reasons!” Indeed, it would take the worst of zoo hangovers for the young man to miss a game.
Some might wonder how regularly going football could fit into the hectic LSE schedule. Work getting in the way of leisure is a reality of LSE life. I’ve seen myself what deadlines can do to students. Even the most ardent zoo natives have been known to flake out of a Wednesday night on account of an ‘essay’.
“It’s been tough at times, especially with essay deadlines this term. I spend a fair amount of time travelling though, which is always a good time to get some work done. What takes up more time is doing my actual weekly work for the club.”
Indeed, Connor’s allegiance to Cardiff FC doesn’t end at his support.
What started out as an optimistic work experience application to his boyhood club led to his dream job, a role in the Cardiff setup.
“This is my fourth season working for the club, and I really enjoy it.” Connor explains. “I write for the matchday programme and club website, but also update social media channels like Snapchat and Facebook at home and away matches. I’m also in charge of doing a few behind-the-scenes tasks, like organizing the programmes for sale and distributing team sheets to the press and media. If one of the journalists has any problems or questions, they’ll come to me for an answer!”
Connor’s enthusiasm for the job really comes across when you speak to him. For a second he reflects on the pressures of his work being read by “thousands of people every Saturday”. But again, his cheerful demeanour shines through continuing, “it’s usually a welcome break from the usual university schedule.” He goes on, “I’m quite fortunate to be doing such an enjoyable job, especially when the team are playing in the Premier League. It’s quite surreal to be walking around the stadium and the tunnel with multi-million-pound celebrities.”
Even Connor finds a way to have a laugh over a 3-0 defeat. “The furthest away day this season has been Newcastle,” he tells me. “I’ve got a mate in Newcastle University, so we made a good weekend of it – despite the result.” I asked him if he’s ever thought of packing it in, I know I’d be disheartened after travelling a total 600 miles to watch your team lose.
“I’ve been tempted a few times to stay home, but at the minute it doesn’t really feel like work!” He goes on. “It’s hard to keep the emotions in check sometimes, going from the highs of promotion to the lows of what’s happened recently with Emiliano Sala. But that’s all part of the experience, and I’m loving it.”
Moving away from football, we quickly discuss his role as LSE water polo club captain.
“Our water polo team at LSE is doing really well this year. It’s quite a niche sport, so not many people know how or where to play – everyone tells me that it just looks very aggressive! In truth its not very rough, very enjoyable to play and we’ve got excellent men’s and women’s teams full of great people. Some of our best players this season have been complete beginners, it really is very easy to pick up. We encourage people to come along at any time of year if they fancy giving it a go – hit up @lsewaterpolo if you have any questions!”
We finished our conversation with a conundrum. A conundrum of LSE proportions. I asked him if he’d take a first and Cardiff got relegated or a 2:1 and Cardiff stayed up. “That’s a tough one! I’d probably take the 2:1 and Cardiff stay up – then I can do it all over again next year and enjoy my last year at LSE that little bit more!”