North East pupils set their sights on Premier League Challenge title

Shotton Hall Academy are hoping to keep the red flag flying high for Sunderland AFC as the semi-finals of the Premier League Challenge begin this week.

Students from the secondary school will travel to the Bet365 Stadium, home to Stoke City Football Club, on Thursday 26 January with a place in the final of the Premier League Enterprise Challenge up for grabs.

The group will be pitching to increase the Black Cats’ international fan base and income streams from across the pond in the USA.

Their pitch will include how the club could use their assets to generate interest and how the club could increase fans from America through the club’s digital channels.

Sunderland AFC’s charity, the Foundation of Light (FoL), are working alongside the students as they prepare to go for glory with a winning pitch.

Chris Towers, Education officer at the FoL, said: “The girls have been staying back three nights a week after school to be able to get ready.

“It’s been quite a tight turn around with there only being two weeks we’ve had quite a lot to do.

“They are very prepared, there’s not a lot more that we could have done in terms of the preparation. They should be very proud.”

The group, who go by the name of Impact, is made up of four students – Lily Nicholson, Hollieann Coatman, Eden Boden and Caitlyn-Ross Little.

Lily Nicholson, 15, admitted: “I’m over the moon to be representing Sunderland because it’s a special feeling.

“I feel really proud and confident about presenting our idea because we’ve been through it so many times.”

Eden Boden added: “We have spent hours after school, working with staff from the foundation.”

Impact hope their ideas will catch the judge’s attention at the Bet365 stadium on Thursday.

Shotton Hall Academy progressed to the semi-finals in December 2016 after they were chosen by a panel of judges at the Stadium of light.

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