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In conversation with UBAFC captain Pat Gibbs

The midfielder talks to Jordana Seal about the club's community spirit and charitable endeavours.

By Jordana Seal, Third Year, English and Theatre Studies

I sat down with the University of Bristol’s Football Club Captain to understand how one of Bristol’s largest sports teams has become a community built upon ‘passion, dedication and success.’

The club must thank Gibbs’ parents who encouraged him to trial for the team despite an injury in 1st year. A year later he was given his first senior role; Social Secretary, in which he wanted to encourage an inclusive and fun environment on nights out.

‘I always wanted to make sure the guys who came in always had a good time, I’ve never agreed with the freshers/senior dynamic and wanted to make it clear that if you're good at football it doesn’t matter who you are I want you to enjoy yourself and become a part of the community.’

He is now Club Captain, but his leadership style remains the same.

‘I’m no different to anyone else, I play football and happen to do the admin, most of the time everyone makes it so easy I can be their friend, help them out and do everything I can to make their lives easier.’

Smif Sports Photography

Pat’s attitude demonstrates why he has reached this role during his university career, he is humble, professional, and dedicated.

This season, the team’s coach Alan Tyers has become the Sports Co-ordinator of Bristol Football.

‘This is his 21st year at the club, he’s such a great guy and this opportunity came up in April. Having a member of staff solely dedicated to football who works for the uni, means that he has access to all the sports group coordinators, and they can flow ideas off each other and be more collaborative.’

One of the benefits of Tyers' new role in the club is that he has been able to implement the maroon scholarships.

'We want football to be a reason why people choose to study at Bristol, Tyers has been speaking to local schools and scouting people who are talented players applying to university in the next 1 or 2 years.’

The scholarship offers extra sports psychology sessions, strength and conditioning, nutrition and a fully paid club membership and BUCS. A commendable opportunity offered by the club.

The team has also done amazing things for ‘mind’, a charity that Pat described as ‘close to our hearts and I don’t want that to ever change.’

The inaugural Olia Odukwe Cup held in May 2022, Smif Sports Photography

In 2022, they created a tournament in memory of Olisa Odukwe, the former student and UBAFC player who tragically passed away in May 2021, called the Olisa Odukwe Cup. ‘The tournament was a great day and will be a yearly tradition so that the club can always commemorate our dear friend.’

This conversation highlighted that Pat truly loves the team and describes the members as  ‘such academic guys who are keen to work hard and enjoy themselves by playing football.’

‘I love the club and it’s such a massive part of my uni experience and the same for everyone involved, we are a community of people who are like-minded and love the same sport. It’s such a great thing.

Featured image: Smif Sports Photography