Wrexham goalie nets a first-class degree

Wrexham goalkeeper Mark Howard is celebrating after netting a first-class degree from Staffordshire University.

Mark Howard graduation 4

Mark Howard with fellow graduates in the ceremony hall.

The facilities that they do have here, what we’re all able to use to harness our skills and progress on the course has been amazing.

Mark Howard, BA (Hons) Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting.

Howard picked up his degree in BA (Hons) Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting at a ceremony in Kings Hall in Stoke this week after completing the course alongside his footballing career.

The course, delivered in partnership with the Professional Footballers' Association, has helped Howard to hone his broadcasting skills and last year he launched the The Yours, Mine, Away! Podcast. The show, which is about to hit its 50th episode, delves into to the world of goalkeeping with current premiership stars, football legends and masterminds behind the game.

“The actual campus itself, it’s been amazing to come and see. The facilities that they do have here, what we’re all able to use to harness our skills and progress on the course has been amazing,” he commented.

“I’ve got some outside influences now, with my podcast and I’ve got a few other things going on so it’s all about developing myself for the next phase of my career. I want to play for as long as I can but let’s just see what happens.”

Several of Howard’s Wrexham AFC teammates took to social media to praise the goalie for his achievement and the club’s co-owner, Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds, also congratulated him on this “immense accomplishment”.

Howard began his career in the youth ranks at Arsenal, before joining Cardiff City, and later had spells in Scotland with St Mirren and Aberdeen, and Sheffield United. He joined Bolton in 2016, and has also featured for Salford City and Scunthorpe United in recent seasons.

Wrexham AFC announced the signing of the experienced goalkeeper in July 2022, and Howard played a key role in the club’s title-winning campaign last season. His contract was extended until the end of the 2023/24 season, following on from Wrexham’s promotion back to the EFL.

He said: “At 37 years old, to go back to education and restart my learning career, it’s not easy to juggle everything. I’ve got a beautiful family, I’ve got two kids as well.

“To say that I’ve come through a degree, got a promotion with Wrexham, all of these things in the background that fans wouldn’t really be aware of, are difficult to manage at times but once you come through that it’s the most enjoyable part.”

Course Leader Ian Bayley added: "He was a very good student, a first-class student and his grade really speaks for itself. He often went over and above and one example of that is the excellent podcast he developed whilst on the course. He showed a great aptitude centred around sports journalism and had a particular interest in media law which he was very good at. Mark was a pleasure to work with and we wish him well for the future. There's not many of our graduates who can also claim that they also starred in a Hollywood production but he appeared in several episodes of Welcome to Wrexham."

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