Respected football journalist is looking forward to taking up his ‘dream job’ in his home country. Soccer Laduma senior journalist Joe Crann is returning to the United Kingdom after nine years working for the publication. 

Crann (30) posted the announcement to his Instagram and Twitter profiles, saying that April would be his last month at Soccer Laduma, Africa’s biggest soccer publication. 

In his statement, Sheffield-born Crann said that he could not turn down an opportunity to cover English football and is excited to return to it. “The ‘spark’ I suppose was the chance to go back and do the job that I dreamed of doing when I was a kid,” he told Wits Vuvuzela 

Crann qualified as a journalist in the UK and proceeded to do an unpaid internship with Soccer Laduma during the 2010 World Cup. He took up the publication’s offer for a full-time contract in 2011.

“I’ve loved my time here, but it just felt like the time was right to take on a new challenge, and I could never work for anybody in [South Africa] other than Soccer Laduma to be honest – they’re like family to me now,” Crann said. 

Reflecting on notable moments in his career, Crann names the CAF Champions League final in Cairo between Egyptian giants Al Ahly and Orlando Pirates, and the CAF Confederation Cup final in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, between hosts TP Mazembe and SuperSport United. 

“Both of those games were incredible in terms of the atmosphere and build-up, and will truly stay with me for the rest of my life. Seeing Sipho Mbule’s (Supersport United central midfielder) goal live to silence the Mazembe crowd in the DRC was truly something special,” he said. 

Crann’s former colleague at Soccer Laduma, Julian Bailey (30), told Wits Vuvuzela that Crann had been an advocate for him when he was about to join Bidvest Wits as a media officer and always encouraged him to do his best. 

“Joe has been a breath of fresh air in the [South African] football media fraternity. He has a unique sense for finding the real story, doing whatever it takes to get to the bottom of it and managing to do so without creating too many enemies,” said Bailey, who is the media and communications officer of Cape Town City FC.

Polokwane City FC goalkeeper George Chigova (29) told Wits Vuvuzela, “It’s sad that South African football is losing such a dedicated journalist, he will be missed. He had a great impact over the years. He [would] stay at PSL offices on deadline days until midnight updating people on every move.”

The diversity in South Africa has taught Crann to be aware that content has to be diverse as well.

“When creating content in South Africa it can never be just one-size-fits-all, because there are so many people that consume media in different ways, and if you want to be successful then you have to make sure that you’re able to cater to as many people as possible, whether it be written, digital, video or audio-based content,” he said. 

Crann wouldn’t say what his upcoming job in the UK will be, given the current covid-19 situation, however, he describes English football as his first love.

“My ambitions have always been to grow myself as much as possible, and I feel like I grew exponentially both professionally and as a person during my time in Cape Town and Johannesburg, so I’m hoping to keep that growth going in England once I get back there,” Crann said.

FEATURED IMAGE: Joe Crann holds up the official football jerseys of South Africa, where he honed his journalistic skills, and England, his home. Photo: Courtesy Joe Crann.