Old Brighton’s Tom Wallace (OB2016) and Nick Pavlou (OB2015) were both studying on exchange at the University Of Sheffield when the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to return home early.
While the 2020 VAFA season is yet to get off the ground, these two became part of a rare group which has actually had a taste of football this year, when they played a game for the North London Lions.
We asked them to tell us a bit about their journeys…
Q: What were you studying in Sheffield? When are you due to graduate?
TW: I study Commerce/Finance at Monash and whilst at Sheffield had a few finance and economics electives. I’m graduating at the end of this year.
NP: Technically I was studying Marketing, but can’t say a lot of studying occurred. Graduating mid this year.
Q: What was your favourite thing about the UK/Sheffield. What did you enjoy about the exchange experience?
TW: Favourite thing was the student life which is so much better than back home. And meeting new people from all around the world and living away from home was pretty cool.
NP: The culture surrounding the EPL/soccer in general is pretty awesome. Got to a Sheffield United game and was unreal.
Q: How was it putting on the boots for the North London Lions? How did the standard of footy compare to the VAFA?
TW: Playing was a lot of fun and the North London Lions were very welcoming and a lot of fun. Pav dominated as per and I got a few touches but was very unfit. Played forward and kicked the first goal though so I hope people had money on. Standard was decent and some of the locals were very impressive.
NP: The fitness was definitely lacking, but the standard actually surprised me a bit. Maybe not up to A-grade but there were a few handy players.
Q: Who from the club would fit in well in Sheffield and why?
TW: Fraser Gregson – Uni student who would do minimal work but thoroughly enjoy and make the most of the social life every night of the week.
NP: Definitely not either of the Freemans because they would need to be self-sufficient.
Q: What did you miss and not miss the most while you were away?
TW: Missed being round the club/training and Newbay parmas. Didn’t miss work/uni back home.
NP: Missed New bay Parmas. Didn’t miss Simon Hikaka’s pre-season drills.
Q: What did each of you learn about the other while travelling together for an extended period of time?
TW: Learnt that Pav loves sleep, legit doesn’t study (didn’t go to one class all semester) and like Tommy Shelby he loves doing crook stuff in Birmingham.
NP: I learnt heaps from Twal. He is a terrible table tennis player, terrible FIFA player, and loves people with glasses.
Q: What have you been doing to keep busy while you’re at home in isolation?
TW: Exercise each day, working on my chipping (golf) game in the backyard and lots of Netflix.
NP: PS4 COD Warzone – add me if you want to get a W – Pavlou_Inbound3
Q: Has the playing group been keeping in touch during this period? Who has provided the best gas?
TW: A fair few of the boys have asked how the trip was which has been good. Nicholas Freeman has provided great gas as per usual, with constant check-ups if I’m staying home and staying safe.
NP: Ed Tait been doing pretty Impressive Tik Toks.
Q: When all the restrictions are lifted and life is back to normal, what are you looking forward to most?
TW: Getting back involved with the footy club and seeing mates.
NP: Silly Saturday Chew after an A grade flag