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KU student becomes Fan Voice vlogger

By Craig House Jan 23, 2019
Hawes has experienced his fair share of disappointing performances in his time as a FanVoice vlogger.

Among a crowd of Southampton FC’s signature white and red stands, an eager fan with a video phone in hand, stands ready to relish in victory or despair in defeat.

Owen Hawes, a supporter of the Hampshire Premier League side, became a live reaction vlogger after his first-year creative writing project was discovered by, the popular sports coverage website.

Hawes, a creative writing and drama student at Kingston, was asked to be part of Fan Voice, a series that follows one vlogger for each Premier League team and documents the highs and lows of their season.

At the end of a match, Hawes sends his footage to a video editor who then uploads the video for both 90Min’s website and their YouTube channel.

Hawes’ expenses are paid for, including his season ticket and away game travel and food.

As a result, he regularly watches matches live and was in attendance when a superb strike by James Ward-Prowse helped Southampton to a 2-1 win over Everton last weekend.

“In first year, creative writing taught us to create a blog mainly to practice word craft. I started my blog on Southampton and within two weeks approached me asking to be the face of their Southampton Fan Voices series,” said Hawes.

The 90Min brand has an audience of over 60 million combined over its website and various other platforms like its app and YouTube presence.

Their channel currently has over 68,000 subscribers.

Hawes is one of 20 Fan Voice vloggers in the UK as each Premier League football team has one supporter representing them.

Andy Dillon, sports journalist at The Sun, said: “Technology is influencing football; from VAR to vloggers. There is a must-have-now theme to online reporting with short stories, match reports looking for the most explosive headlines in order to generate clicks.”

The nerves of recording himself among his team’s fans was the biggest thing to overcome, according to the drama and creative writing student.

“I have been called a few names and I hear people laughing at me and sometimes I will see that when I watch the footage back. However, there are some that take a real interest and the best feeling is when someone recognises me and says ‘Oh I watch you all the time’,” Hawes said.

“Seeing the enjoyment people get out of it just really justifies why I do it.”

Match vlogging has become increasingly common in football games following the emergence of YouTube channels that cover everything from Southampton to non-league sides.

A digital football trend analyst, David Claxton, said: “Technology is changing the face of football at a variety of levels, from the clubs themselves, to the fans also. For clubs, it is about the stadium experience, paired with an authentic, ‘always on’ digital approach that keeps their fans engaged both during the season and also in the traditional downtime of the summer.

“No club goes a season without controversy, if as a vlogger you do not reflect this, you will struggle to find an audience. Also, defining your audience is critical.

“What do Southampton fans really care about this year? You need to know this type of thing to connect with your audience and engage them.”

Hawes has witnessed his fair share of defeats but also incredible displays by the Saints this season, including their hard-fought victory at home to Arsenal.

He has developed a growing following online and even achieved Twitter fame.

He says: “I went viral, a Cardiff fan, after their win against us, screen recorded my reaction to their goal and captioned it ‘Do you want to see a grown man cry?’ I was not crying, it was raining.”

Hawes plans to continue vlogging and documenting every joy and every moment of despair for the rest of the football season.

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