May 07, 2021
Best of the Week — First Winner
AP’s ace soccer journalist scores in all formats as protest turns violent at Manchester United
Building on his recent coverage of the collapse of the Super League, AP global soccer writer Rob Harris knew he needed to attend Sunday’s match between two teams that were part of the failed breakaway league — Manchester United and Liverpool — amid rising fan anger at the clubs.
Reporters were prevented from entering the stadium hours before the scheduled kickoff, with most waiting outside the entrance to Old Trafford. But Harris looped around the opposite side of the stadium to get closer to the expected protests.
What followed was a multiformat win. As the the crowd grew unruly, eventually breaking into the stadium and onto the field, lighting flares and lobbing bottles, Harris phoned in text and uploaded video from the melee, including the start of clashes between fans and police. He and a pair of stringers supplemented with photos. On an important day for Premier League coverage, Harris’ video was featured in major networks’ coverage, and AP’s text alert on the postponement of the game beat even Britain’s top agency.
For all-formats command of his beat under difficult circumstances, and significant wins against the competition, Harris earns AP’s Best of the Week honors.