The man-bites-dog theory is a staple of journalism school professors. We’ll try and explain how it works, and what makes a news story. An Arsenal supporter who isn’t a fan of a Manchester United player? Not quite. The Arsenal fan is Lewis Hamilton. Warm. The Manchester United player is Ashley Young. Warmer. They studied together and played for their school team. Disco.
Speaking to HT, the man who in 2008 became F1’s youngest world champion (a record since broken by Sebastian Vettel) talked about the sport he almost picked over racing cars.
While he was a student at John Henry Newman, a Roman Catholic secondary school in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, karting was more of a weekend activity. The sport he played every day was football.
Also enrolled at the school was Young, who was signed by the Red Devils in 2011, ten years after he and Hamilton graduated as the future stars of the school’s Class of 2001.
“I’m an Arsenal fan and try to catch the games. I liked football, but I wasn’t crazy about it. Still I played every day at school. In the morning, we would practice and then after school play matches,” said Hamilton.
“I was a central midfielder. My greatest strength was my fitness and stamina. Ashley was a skill player,” he said.
The motto of John Henry Newman School is cor ad cor loquitor - heart speaks to heart. However, when it comes to F1 and football the beat is invariably different.
Hamilton after all hasn’t met Young since the day he passed out. “We both went our separate ways,” he clarified. “We’re not really friends. We do have some mutual friends.”
You focus on the first line. The next obvious question: “Is that because you’re an Arsenal fan and he’s a Manchester United player?”
Hamilton laughs, then says stony-faced, “No.”