James Ferry’s name could be appearing in the sports pages long after his football career is over.
The on loan Town midfielder is combining playing with a journalism degree, and is hoping to exchange the pitch for the press box in the future.
Twenty-one might seem a young age to be considering a post-football career plan, but Ferry, who is on loan from Stevenage, is already nearly a year into the two-year degree course he attends, based at Staffordshire University, designed for players who are members of the PFA.
Ferry attends university once every couple of months and gets sent coursework over email, and will focus on more practical work over the summer.
“It’s designed around playing football, which is what I like about it,” he said.
“I looked into other degrees but it’s not easy to do a degree on top of a full-time job.
“A few of the older lads at Stevenage said what they might do when they finish, and it made me think I might as well start early and see if I can get something in the bag.
“Football’s only a short career, and unless you play in the Premier League you’re not going to make enough money to stop working.
“I always enjoy watching sport and talking about, so I thought journalism would be a good thing to do.
“I’d like to do radio but it’s not easy to get into. That’d be the ideal scenario, because I like the idea of being able to talk about sport.
“I like to listen to podcasts on different sports so I find it interesting.”
How have the rest of the Town squad reacted to his journalistic endeavours?
“They’ve been very supportive. Sometimes I’ve been working on the way back from a long away trip, and they’ll be asking what I’m doing!”
But Ferry is unequivocal about which of his two sporting pursuits he prefers.
“Football, 100 per cent,” he said. “You’re playing sport every day, you can’t really beat that.
“There are different pressures that make it not as rosy as it may seem from the outside.
“But I do like the journalism because you’re still talking about sport and writing about it.
“I think there’s a reason why a lot of pros go into it because it’s not a complete change for them.”
Ferry’s immediate future though rests back at Stevenage, with his loan at Halifax coming to an end after Saturday’s game at Dover.
“It’s been really good, I’ve enjoyed the games and there was never one when there was nothing riding on it,” he said.
“I think I’ve done well, especially recently when I’ve played more.
“There was a spell when I was out of the team, but that’s football.
“I just wanted to make sure that whenever I did play, I gave a good account of myself.
“I think I have done that in most of the games I’ve played, and I was happy getting the two goals last week (against Eastleigh and Barnet).”
Ferry feels his Shay stint has aided his development as a player.
“There’s no substitute for playing matches,” he said.
“And we’ve been in the position where every game’s mattered, and there’s been pressure on the games for us to get results.
“That’s been a really good experience.
“You can end up playing in reserve games where there’s no competitive edge, but the games at Halifax have all been important, which makes it that much better when you do well. You know that it was important.
“The wins at Harrogate and Eastleigh - they were brilliant and really enjoyable to play in.”
Ferry appears to face an uncertain contract at Stevenage, where his contract expires in the summer.
“I’ll always push to try and play but all I can do is train well and wait and see,” he said.
“I might end up going on loan somewhere else.
“I try to just play every game I can and play well, and then see where it takes me.
“I don’t really think about it too much, I look to just perform to the best I can in each game I play.”
As for Halifax, Ferry envisages a strong end to the campaign for The Shaymen.
“There’s a really good squad there and it was only a matter of time before we started turning the draws into wins,” he added.
“The manager’s always said that results will come because we’ve been playing well and it was just a matter of converting chances.
“With the defence and Sam (Johnson) in goal, we’re never going to concede too many in a game.
“If we scored more, we knew we’d have a chance of winning games.”
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