Ibrahim’s Review of 2016

I’m back! My first blog post of 2016! Let’s do the Sturridge…

Liverpool FC striker Daniel Sturridge is in the groove

Wait… what? Oh yes… I haven’t blogged all year. Oops. Sorry everyone. My ONLY blog post of 2016.

Technically that isn’t true though, I did write one blog post this year. It just wasn’t published on my website. More on that later…

I’ve got to say, 2016 has not been easy for me. It’s been a difficult year but on reflection there have been some great highlights to share, and I am determined to make my eighth review a positive one. It was a bright start to the year with the news that I had been shortlisted under the Services to Media category for the British Muslim Awards 2016. The awards ceremony took place on a cold evening in Birmingham where I lost out to BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan, but I was up against many tough opponents in my category. Excuse the footballing analogy but it was like being a newly-promoted team in the Premier League for the first time, and you’re just happy to be there knowing you’re probably going to get relegated anyway… or somehow you’ll find a way to stay up! Analogies aside, that night in January was a memorable occasion and it was an honour to even have been shortlisted under this fiercely contested category. Well done Noreen for claiming the award, you fully deserved it!

Ibrahim with BBC Asian Network presenter and award-winner Noreen Khan

A month later, I left my presenting role at Cambridge 105 to join LB24tv, an online British Bangladeshi TV network based in East London. From February to September, I presented Youth Corner – a web series chat show for the youth. The aims of the programme were to showcase the achievements of emerging talent, providing a platform for guests to share their experiences and inspiring stories, and discuss topics that are important to them. It was great to gain TV presenting experience but I particularly enjoyed meeting guests and getting to know them. It felt rewarding to introduce fresh new faces and offer them a platform, considering how the majority of Bangladeshi media outlets I’ve come across, seem to frequently promote the same people and do not provide other hard-working and talented individuals a chance. Many thanks to Abu Ali, Cháyya Syal, Mizan RahmanShuhel Ahmed, Amira HaqueSafwaan ChoudhuryHalima Khanom, Uzma Chaudhry, Carl Francis, Mohima Ahmed, Sharmin Yousuf, and Sayful Alam for all being part of the show! Special thanks to the LB24tv production team for giving me the opportunity to present the show too!

Ibrahim presents the chat show web series “Youth Corner” for LB24tv
The guests (top-left to bottom-right): Abu Ali, Cháyya Syal, Mizan Rahman, Shuhel Ahmed; Amira Haque, Safwaan Choudhury, Halima Khanom, Uzma Chaudhry; Carl Francis, Mohima Ahmed, Sharmin Yousuf, Sayful Alam

My experiences with presenting Youth Corner inspired me to publish my first-ever article as a blogger for the Huffington Post in October, focusing on my utilisation of digital media to engage and empower the youth within the British Bangladeshi community. Massive thanks to Abu Ali, Amira Haque and Shuhel Ahmed for your valuable contributions!

I left LB24tv in September to undertake a TV production course every Saturday at the Cambridge TV School for nine weeks. It was fantastic! What impressed me the most about the course was how much of the work was practical. It was very much hands-on. From the very beginning we were testing out the TV cameras, filming at various locations in Cambridge, presenting and interviewing contributors in the Cambridge TV studio, and editing our captured video footage. I did a fair amount of presenting over those two months as well – the autocue was great fun to mess around with! It was a real pleasure to work with so many awesome people throughout the course, and I would like to thank everyone involved (staff and students) at the school for their amazing support and enthusiasm. I hope we get opportunities to collaborate again soon and I wish you all the best with your future endeavours!

Ibrahim presents “Behind the Brush” for Cambridge TV, a show that explores the work of Cambridge artists

I also managed to sandwich a TV appearance on The Daily Show with Joseph & Salma, a magazine lifestyle series chat show hosted by Joseph and Salma Hayat, on British Muslim TV (Sky 845). In November, I joined the couple in their fancy-looking studio by the London Docklands to talk about how I was engaging and empowering the youth through my work using digital media, drawing some parallels to what I wrote in my blog for the Huffington Post. Thank you Joseph and Salma for having me on your show! That round table changes colour by the way. Thought it was pretty cool…

Ibrahim appears on British Muslim TV’s “The Daily Show with Joseph and Salma”

And finally, I found out almost a couple of weeks ago that I had been shortlisted as a finalist in the Services to Creativity and Technology category at the British Muslim Awards 2017! The awards ceremony will take place next month at the Athena in Leicester. Yes, Leicester – the home of the 2015/16 Premier League Champions. Unbelievable, but what an achievement. Anyway, next year looks like it’s already off to a good start…

Oh yes, what’s happening with Ramadan Roundup? I’ve had a lot to do recently and as you can see, there hasn’t been a new episode in the series since 2014. The timing just hasn’t been right for me yet, but let’s see what happens next year. As it stands, I do believe there is at least one more episode to produce. It’s just a matter of making time. As my filmmaking friend Shuhel Ahmed will tell you, even work on his upcoming superhero comedy web series Classified Freaks has stalled in recent months, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait. I’m really looking forward to watching it!

And that’s pretty much it for this year. I leave you with an inspirational quote from Mufti Ismail Menk…

“The road of life doesn’t allow you to travel backwards. Keep going. There’s a reason for everything. You may not see it now; just trust!”

As always, thank you all so much for your support and kindness, and for following my adventures in 2016. I hope things look up for us in 2017. Best wishes to you all.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Ibrahim’s Review of 2015

Here we go again. Another annual review. My seventh actually. A great opportunity to reflect on a rollercoaster twelve months. As rollercoaster rides come, this has been quite a thrilling one. Sometimes a thriller doesn’t quite go the way you want it to. We’ve all seen a crazy game of football littered with goals – some may recall Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Newcastle United in 1996. Pundits and commentators argue that was the greatest match the Premier League has ever seen. Almost twenty years…

Look at me, harking on about the past. History can be interesting though. Ask my mother, she’ll tell you. Anyway, let’s get this show on the road as I share some of my highlights of 2015 with you…

Ibrahim reads an excerpt from his mother's novel Lascar at the Bishopsgate Library in London
Ibrahim reads an excerpt from his mother’s novel ‘Lascar’ at the Bishopsgate Institute, London

In January, my mother and I were invited to speak at the Everyday Muslim Symposium, held at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. It was a wonderful event to be part of and I really enjoyed the occasion, despite my reading skills being closely scrutinised by an attentive audience – and captured on camera! Many thanks to Sadiya Ahmed and Halima Khanom for giving me the opportunity to participate. You can watch my mother’s talk and my reading right here:


In February, I joined the team of presenters for a sports show on Cambridge 105, a local radio station based in Cambridge. Since August, I have been the lead presenter and producer of the new series. The show has covered local, national and global sport, and is aired every Saturday afternoon. This year, I interviewed a range of guests including Aziz Rahman and Shahin Miah of Cambridge Sporting Football Club, as well as the nation’s youngest restaurant/takeaway owner Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed – a former contestant on the popular BBC TV series The Apprentice.

Ibrahim interviewed Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed on Cambridge 105 Sport
Ibrahim interviewed Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed on Cambridge 105 Sport

You can listen to all the interviews on my brand-new Soundcloud page! I have really enjoyed hosting the show this year. Many thanks to my fellow team members Jack Swindlehurst, Jack LangleyTim Ebanks and Sam Tunbridge for all your help and support. Special thanks to Tim Willett, the station manager, for giving me the opportunity to be involved. It has been a pleasure to be part of Cambridge 105 and I hope the station continues to go from strength to strength.


Shaful Islam, Bobby Friction and Ibrahim Rahman
With quiz team-mate Shaful Islam (left) and BBC Asian Network presenter Bobby Friction (centre)

2015 also witnessed a memorable ICC Cricket World Cup, particularly for Bangladesh who reached the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time. Unfortunately for England it was a tournament to forget, as they failed to qualify from their group.

In March, I ventured to the West Midlands to appear on a live BBC Asian Network show. I was on the Bobby Friction show and represented Team Bangladesh in a cricket quiz! It was great fun and we did pretty well – scoring 9/10! Many thanks to the production team and Bobby for having me. Shaf Islam was a top team-mate as well! You can listen to our performance (and all the banter) through the audio clip below:


Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for the 2015 Limelight Film Awards
Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for the 2015 Limelight Film Awards

It was a great year for Ramadan Roundup, as the latest episode of the series was nominated for a national film award. I attended this year’s Limelight Film Awards in June. Unfortunately, Ramadan Roundup 4 didn’t win the award but it was very humbling to have been shortlisted. News of the nomination was covered on local radio station Cambridge 105, newspapers East London News, London Bangla and Cambridge News, and on television through Islam Channel. You can watch our Ramadan Roundup interview with Raza Amode and myself right here:

Once again, a massive thank you to everyone for your support and to those who have contributed to the series. Unfortunately my plans for producing Ramadan Roundup 5 this year did not go ahead as I had hoped. Having said that, the episode is still in pre-production and I hope to continue working on it next year. God willing.

On the other hand, I can confirm that I have just started to film Ramadan Roundup 4.5, a mini-episode that is linked to Ramadan Roundup 4 but leads on to Ramadan Roundup 5. More news to come very soon, but do keep your eyes peeled on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more updates! The adventure continues…

Ramadan Roundup 4.5 is in production...
Ramadan Roundup 4.5 is in production…

Ibrahim was a contributor to the BBC's Ramadan in a Day project
Ibrahim was a contributor to the BBC’s Ramadan in a Day project

In July, I was one of the contributors for the Ramadan in a Day project, a BBC Taster experiment delivered in partnership with BBC Asian Network. The project set out to capture a day of life during Ramadan, giving people the chance to tell their own stories through social media. I appeared in a series of videos that you can still watch on the BBC Asian Network YouTube channel. Check out one of the clips right here:


Ibrahim at the Asian Media Awards 2015
Ibrahim at the Asian Media Awards 2015

In September, I was shortlisted as a finalist in the Regional Journalist of the Year category at the Asian Media Awards 2015. I attended the official shortlist announcement at the ITV Studios in London, before making the very long trip to the Hilton Manchester Deansgate for the main showpiece in October. Unfortunately I missed out on the award, but I was really humbled to have been chosen as a finalist under a brand-new category at this year’s awards. It was a fantastic occasion.

Ibrahim's Profile - page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure
Ibrahim’s profile was listed in the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure

And there you have it. My biggest moments in 2015 in a nutshell. Now, I’m going to sit in front of my clock and stare at it until it strikes twelve. Analogue or digital you ask? Don’t bother asking, that’s a very boring thing to do. Also time-consuming. Go ahead and laugh, you know that was funny…

As 2015 draws to a close, I shall leave you with this quote:

“The more difficult it is to reach your destination, the more you will remember and appreciate the journey.”

This year has been thrilling and memorable. A massive thank you to all of you for your support and kindness. I wrote in my last annual review hoping this year would be a great year for you all, and I really hope it has been.

Thank you for following my adventures this year. Let’s see what happens in 2016. Let the journey continue.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Asian Media Awards 2015

Thursday 29th October 2015. Destination Manchester.

Cambridge to Deansgate… journey time approximately 4.5 hours? Yes, it was VERY long and there was an eleven minute delay leaving from London Euston, which had a knock-on effect for the rest of the journey. Despite that, I arrived at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel on time and looked forward to what was expected to be an enjoyable and memorable evening. What a venue. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend the night there, but I did get a nice view from the top floor…

Ibrahim's view from the top floor of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel - the venue for the Asian Media Awards 2015
Ibrahim’s view from the top floor of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel – the venue for the Asian Media Awards 2015

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was one of five finalists shortlisted under the Regional Journalist of the Year category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. Below is my profile, published in page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure. Every finalist had their own profile too.

Ibrahim's Profile - page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure
Ibrahim’s profile – page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure

The winner was Sangeeta Bhabra, presenter of ITV Meridian News. Congratulations to Sangeeta for winning the award!

My interest in broadcasting started four years ago when I was invited for a live interview, representing my university’s Islamic Society on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire‘s Sunday Breakfast show. Despite being incredibly nervous and unprepared for it, I enjoyed the experience and was really keen to do more! Since then, I have reported about Ramadan, the Hajj, and both Eid celebrations in Cambridge. I am currently presenting a sports show every Saturday from 2-5pm on Cambridge 105.

It wasn’t that long ago when my short film Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for a national film award, so I’m really humbled and privileged to have been chosen as a finalist under a brand-new category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. It was also a real pleasure to see familiar and new faces on the night. One of them being up-and-coming comedian Guz Khan, also known as Guzzy Bear! He used to be a teacher I think…

Comedian Guz Khan (left) with Ibrahim Rahman
Comedian Guz Khan (left) with Ibrahim

Finally, I want to thank you all for your amazing support. It really means a lot. Huge thanks to my family and friends, especially to Raza Amode for coming along to the event.

All praise is to Allah and all success is from Him.

The Road to Manchester

No. I have not become a Manchester City fan. Neither do I support that other club that is within close proximity to them. Don’t even go there. Liverpool FC through and through. Jürgen Klopp – welcome to Anfield!

Klopp for the Kop: Jürgen Klopp is the new manager of Liverpool FC

Anyway, this blog post is not about football so let’s move on.

Since the Limelight Film Awards took place in June, the last four months for me have been really busy. Time for a quick recap.

Ramadan came and went. During the month of fasting, you may have come across my photo project on Instagram and Facebook – Ibrahim’s Ramadan Diary. I posted a photo every day, capturing scenery around Cambridge and writing some personal reflections.

Also during Ramadan, I was one of the contributors for the Ramadan in a Day project, a BBC Taster experiment delivered in partnership with BBC Asian Network. The project set out to capture a day of life during Ramadan, giving people the chance to tell their own story through social media. I appeared in a series of videos that can be viewed on BBC Asian Network’s YouTube channel. It was a fun project and it was great to be part of something that was entertaining but also informative.

Since August, I have been presenting and producing the new series of Cambridge 105 Sport, a live radio show covering local, national and global sport – aired every Saturday from 2-5pm on Cambridge 105. The show also aims to focus on recognising sporting activities in the local community, as well as interviewing live guests in the Cambridge 105 studio.

Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed
Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed were live guests on Cambridge 105 Sport

So far this series, I interviewed Aziz Rahman and Shahin Miah, two representatives from Cambridge Sporting Football Club, and I recently spoke to Safwaan Choudhury (the youngest restaurant/takeaway owner in the UK) and Nurun Ahmed (a former contestant on last year’s TV series of “The Apprentice”). Podcasts are available for all of these interviews and can be heard via the Cambridge 105 website, iTunes and the RadioPlayer smartphone app. Likewise, you can also listen to them right here:

So what was the point of the Manchester reference? Hold on people, I’m getting there. Last month, I had been shortlisted as a finalist under the Regional Journalist of the Year category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. I attended the Shortlist Announcement at ITV’s London Studios and I had the opportunity to meet journalist and broadcaster Mihir Bose, author and commentator Sarfraz Manzoor, and ITN producer Roohi Hasan.

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With journalist and broadcaster Mihir Bose
Author and commentator Sarfraz Manzoor with Ibrahim Rahman
With author and commentator Sarfraz Manzoor
With media and communications expert Hasina Momtaz

The Regional Journalist of the Year award is a new category featuring in the Asian Media Awards 2015. The winner will be announced at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Thursday 29th October 2015. Here are the nominees:

wpid-img_d1223.jpg

Since the Shortlist Announcement, news of my nomination was published in the East London News, London Bangla and Weekly Desh (see below). In summary, the article written in Bengali lists the work I have done recently, and some information on the Asian Media Awards Shortlist Announcement.

wpid-weekly_desh_ama_16_10_2015.png

So there you have it. Seven days to go! I’m really looking forward to the occasion. It’s been a very eventful past few months. I must take up this opportunity to thank everybody for your fantastic support. It really means a lot. All praise is to God.

Manchester awaits.

Bobby’s Breaking Boundaries

The last few weeks have been pretty exciting, particularly if you are a fan of the Bangladesh cricket team! Australia went on to win the ICC Cricket World Cup, but Bangladesh made history by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time. It was a memorable tournament for the Tigers!

Earlier this month, I travelled alone to Birmingham. Believe me, it was a tough and exhausting journey! Cambridge to London King’s Cross, took the London Underground to Euston, and then jumped on the London Midland service all the way from London Euston to Birmingham New Street. From Cambridge to Birmingham, it must’ve taken me three hours! Why did I go to Birmingham, you ask? Read on.

I was at BBC Asian Network, representing Team Bangladesh in a cricket quiz on the Bobby Friction show! Five countries took part in the game – Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and England. The two teams that achieved the highest scores would appear in the final to battle for the ultimate prize… actually, there wasn’t a prize at all. We were all fighting for pride and bragging rights…

Team Pakistan were the first to be called up on Day One of the quiz and scored 10/10, leaving me and my team-mate Shaful Islam with a mountain to climb if we were to reach the final.

The quiz was divided into two parts. The first five questions were about Bangladeshi cricket, with the latter focusing on general knowledge of cricket. The first round began. Each question was bowled in with searing pace. We had to attack. We danced down the wicket and slogged them all for six. In other words, we got off to the perfect start, blazing through the first round as we turned up the pressure on Team Pakistan with five correct answers. The chase was on. So far so good. Five down, five more to go…

After a short musical interlude, it was time for the final round. Three more questions were launched at us. We kept our calm and composure, blasting them over the ropes yet again. We started to believe. We had hope. The final was within touching distance. We saw light at the end of the tunnel… and then the penultimate delivery left us stunned.

We failed to provide an answer for the ninth question. It was a dot ball. We knew at that point, it was out of our hands. We recovered to successfully answer the final question, finishing the quiz on 9/10. We were so close. It felt like the Asia Cup final of 2012 when Pakistan beat Bangladesh by a mere TWO runs… it was agonising! However, we had to remind ourselves that our involvement in this competition wasn’t quite over yet…

We were relying on Team India, Team Sri Lanka and Team England to score lower than us, which would have confirmed our place in the final against Team Pakistan. The dream was still alive. There was still a glimmer of hope but our chances were now hanging by a thread. Sadly, our fate was eventually sealed when Team England scored a perfect 10, knocking us out of the competition along with India (9) and Sri Lanka (8).

Dramatics aside, I had a fantastic time on the show! It was a really enjoyable experience and I want to thank the production team and Bobby for having me. It was great meeting Shaf as well – who was an awesome team-mate!

You can listen to our performance (and all our jokes) by checking out the audio clip below. Enjoy!

BBC Asian Network: Bobby’s Breaking Boundaries (Day Two), Team Bangladesh – 05 March 2015 by Ibrahim Rahman on Mixcloud

Ibrahim’s Review of 2014

It’s that time of year again. The time when I turn around 180 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise and immerse myself with flashbacks. Whoa, that was bright! Oh, that was just me being dazzled by a car’s headlights. How can I be looking at a car’s headlights when I am supposed to be looking at my computer and focusing on this annual review? We’ll never know. Or maybe you will. It could just be one of life’s mysteries. Anyway, I digress.

Welcome to my sixth annual review. As always, another eventful year has found itself arrive and depart through the revolving doors of time. Is it me or am I starting to become poetic? No, I’m serious. Tweet me about it. Use an appropriate hashtag if you like. Be nice though. Let’s rewind the last twelve months…

Ibrahim visits Anfield for the first time
Ibrahim visits Anfield for the first time

I have travelled to quite a few places this year, and January witnessed my first trip to Anfield. After winning free tickets in a competition, I went to visit the home of my favourite football team – Liverpool FC. The result was a disappointing 2-2 draw with Aston Villa but watching from the stands was a memorable experience! I visited Anfield again three months later to watch the “Celebration of the 96” charity match. Another 2-2 draw!

Ibrahim visits the Emirates Stadium
Ibrahim visits the Emirates Stadium

In February, lightning struck twice. My brother Imran ALSO won free tickets to watch Arsenal play Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as the Gunners sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory over their London rivals. It was a different kind of experience to the one I had at Anfield, but enjoyable nonetheless. The inside of the stadium was visually impressive and we had a nice view from the stands. Overall, it was an enjoyable visit and the match was decent. Let’s hope Imran wins tickets again!

Ibrahim speaks on-stage at the Maa Amar Maa Awards
Ibrahim speaks on-stage at this year’s Maa Amar Maa Awards

In March, I attended the Maa Amar Maa Awards in London – an awards ceremony hosted by Pillar Productions to honour British Bangladeshi mothers in the UK. My mother won the Mother of the Year award! I was also invited on stage to say a few words which was quite nerve-wracking, but good practice for my public speaking skills. I met old and new faces but at the end of the day, it was a wonderful and joyous occasion. Definitely one of the highlights of the year!

Ibrahim in the BBC Asian Network studio with Shahida Rahman and Dilara Khan
Ibrahim in the BBC Asian Network studio with Shahida Rahman and Dilara Khan

Some days after the event, we were both invited for a live interview on BBC Asian Network. In an exciting and lively exchange of words with presenter Nadia Ali, I was asked about why I nominated my mother for an award. We also participated in a fun “Mother v Son” quiz! We were interviewed alongside Dilara Khan, the CEO of Pillar Productions and producer of Maa Amar Maa. Once again, another memorable day!

The Second Yellow
The Second Yellow

Welcome to May. I teamed up with Abu Ali to form The Second Yellow, a joint venture with the aim of delivering and discussing some of the biggest stories in football through writing articles and producing a podcast series. We have produced two episodes so far but are hoping for greater things in the new year. Watch this space!

Ramadan Roundup 4
Ramadan Roundup 4

I spent the next couple of months preparing for Ramadan Roundup 4. Raza Amode and Ubaid Sajid returned for this year’s instalment, after previously appearing in Ramadan Roundup 2. We also welcomed many new faces including Nadia Ali from BBC Asian Network! Cambridge locals Moghees Darr, Amira Haque and Ayat Rasool also made their first on-screen appearances in the series, and Uzma Chaudhry silenced the doubters by providing her voice all the way from Manchester for the opening scene. I should visit Manchester one day, it sounds like a nice place! It was a big cast this year and I am really grateful to everyone for being part of it! THANK YOU!

Ibrahim at Inspire FM
Ibrahim talked about the Ramadan Roundup series at Inspire FM

Throughout July, Ramadan Roundup gained a fair amount of media exposure through Inspire FM, a community radio station in Luton. I talked about the series as a live guest and “co-host” on the Urban Kube Show, presented by Shemiza Rashid. The series also got a mention in Weekly Desh, a bilingual British Bangladeshi weekly newspaper distributed around the UK. A North American-based online magazine called The Aerogram also published their series review. Thank you to all for your coverage!

In August, I reported for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to cover the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in Cambridge. My Ramadan reports from last year were also repeated again on the Sunday Breakfast show.

September came along and I joined local community radio station Cambridge 105 as a reporter. My first report appeared on 105 Drive with Julian Clover, after attending the “Question Cambridge” event and I interviewed Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, about his thoughts on the city’s transportation infrastructure and encouraging more people to get into entrepreneurship. Listen to the report here.

Ibrahim and Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network
Ibrahim and Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network

I also worked for a month as a trainee assistant producer at BBC Asian Network on Nadia Ali‘s show. I had an amazing time! I recorded, edited and uploaded short video clips onto the BBC Asian Network Facebook page and had some fun posting and reading tweets! I also had the privilege of meeting Nurun Ahmed, a contestant from the tenth series of The Apprentice.

Ibrahim with Nurun Ahmed, contestant on the tenth series of "The Apprentice"
Ibrahim with Nurun Ahmed, contestant on the tenth series of “The Apprentice”

I recorded an awesome Apprentice-style video with Nadia performing as Sir Alan Sugar, who was analysing a comical pitch from Nurun. The video reached out to over 25,000 people within 7 days! I really enjoyed the experience and definitely would love to return again!

And then it was November. I attended the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2014 publication launch and awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace, London. I was listed in this year’s publication, recognising my work as a reporter, filmmaker, web designer and developer. I was also told that I am the youngest ever entrant to be listed in the book!

Finally, we reach December. I returned to Cambridge 105 to report from this year’s Mill Road Winter Fair. As the Fair returned for its tenth year, the Cambridge Mosque on Mawson Road also held its annual open day. I went to find out what was happening and then I went off to interview local stallholders. My two reports also featured in their podcast. All in all, another enjoyable day!

2014 has been an amazing year for me. There have been some challenging and difficult moments at times, but the tremendous support I have received from so many of you really helped me to keep going. Here is a quote I found a couple of days ago from Mufti Ismail Menk:

“Don’t forget those who have helped you along the way. Meet them; give them a call. We can never show too much appreciation to those who matter.”

I cannot thank you all enough, I am so grateful for all your support and generosity. May you all be immensely rewarded for your efforts. I had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people this year and I hope 2015 will be a great year for everyone. I hope you have enjoyed following my adventures this year – let’s create some new ones together.

I wish you all the best for the year ahead. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

P.S. There’s a new web series on the horizon…

Rahman Red Reflection: Liverpool Triumph in Marathon Penalty Shootout

Liverpool won a dramatic penalty shootout 14-13 against Championship outfit Middlesbrough to reach the fourth round of the League Cup.

The Reds took the lead after ten minutes through 17-year-old debutant Jordan Rossiter, but the away side equalised when Adam Reach headed in just after the hour mark. In extra time, Suso came off the bench for Liverpool to slam home with 11 minutes remaining but Middlesbrough’s Patrick Bamford stunned Anfield with a last-gasp spot-kick to force a penalty shootout.

Simon Mignolet pushed out the away side’s first penalty from Bamford but Raheem Sterling failed to score Liverpool’s fifth, confirming sudden death in the shootout. Twenty penalties were all scored in a row as each player from both clubs, including the goalkeepers, demonstrated fantastic courage and showed nerves of steel. The match finally reached its conclusion when Boro winger Albert Adomah missed the target – Anfield roared with relief and celebrated a memorable victory.

Middlesbrough certainly deserve massive credit for pushing Liverpool all the way in this cup tie. There is still plenty for Rodgers to worry about and he must have been relieved to see his side progress to the fourth round of the League Cup.

Overall, performances this season have generally been poor (except for the display at Tottenham Hotspur) but worryingly and most importantly, the league results have been unsatisfactory. The Merseyside derby is fast approaching and both Liverpool and Everton have struggled in the league so far, but Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez will view this game as a great platform to reignite themselves as they aim to climb the table.

Rahman Red Reflection: Impressive Irons Hammer Lacklustre Liverpool

Liverpool were well beaten by a powerful West Ham United, inflicting a third defeat in five league games on Brendan Rodgers’ side.

The Reds failed to cope with their opponents’ fast start, scoring twice through Winston Reid and Diafra Sakho in the opening seven minutes. Liverpool halved the deficit through Raheem Sterling who lashed in the rebound for his third goal of the season, after Mario Balotelli’s attempt had initially been blocked. The Reds pressed hard in search of an equaliser, only to be continually thwarted by Hammers keeper Adrian but this left them vulnerable to the counter attack and their misery was soon complete. Morgan Amalfitano jumped off the bench to apply a late clinical finish and secure West Ham’s first home win this season.

It was a dreadful display from Liverpool. They never looked settled and West Ham exploited their weaknesses. Looking at the defence, there is a serious lack of organisation and leadership. Dejan Lovren has had a shaky start to life at Anfield and Mamadou Sakho has also struggled in recent games. Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo have been hit and miss so far. These defensive frailties, however, are not new and you only need to look at last season to see the number of goals they conceded. Too many.

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were so important in the previous campaign but there is little point saying Liverpool are missing the Uruguayan. First of all, it’s obvious that any team would miss someone with his qualities. Secondly, he is still banned so he wouldn’t have played anyway. The bottom line is he no longer plays for Liverpool. Focus on the players who are actually in the squad. Move on.

Sturridge’s absence is clearly hurting Liverpool at the moment and he should be returning very soon. I hope he can hit the ground running straight away as Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert have yet to score in the league.

They are also really missing Joe Allen, a player who is accomplished with the ball at his feet but works very hard to reclaim possession for his team. Liverpool are missing his tenacity, energy and excellent workrate.

The Reds are lacking that spark at the moment and hopefully Sturridge’s comeback will reignite their attack. It’s still early days but three losses in their first five league games is worrying. Liverpool face Middlesbrough in the 3rd round of the Capital One Cup at Anfield and it seems inevitable that Rodgers will make plenty of changes, but I hope he fields a strong starting eleven as they need to return to winning ways quickly.

The Merseyside derby is not far away…

Rahman Red Reflection: Ludogorets Lacerated by Last-gasp Liverpool

Last night, Liverpool returned to Europe’s greatest club competition and kicked off their Champions League adventure with a late, hard-fought victory over Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad.

The Reds finally made the breakthrough in the 82nd minute through Mario Balotelli – his first goal for the club. Holding off two defenders, he brilliantly steered the ball into the net with the outside of his right foot. Dani Abalo looked to have snatched a point in the last minute for Ludogorets after rounding Simon Mignolet. However in the second minute of stoppage time, the visiting goalkeeper Milan Borjan failed to control the ball in his 18-yard box and conceded a penalty for fouling Liverpool right-back Javier Manquillo. Steven Gerrard assumed his spot-kick duties and calmly placed his penalty into the bottom-right corner to give the Reds a winning start to their European campaign.

I was particularly impressed with the full-backs – Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo were excellent. Moreno’s brilliant left-wing cross enabled Balotelli to open his Liverpool goalscoring account. Manquillo was in an advanced position very late into the game and ultimately won the crucial penalty that secured all three points for the Reds.

Obviously, Mario Balotelli deserves credit for his goal. It looked like it was going to be another frustrating game for the Italian but when given the chance, he took the opportunity with aplomb. Balotelli is off the mark and that goal will give him confidence. I thought he wasn’t in the box more frequently enough as he was usually found hovering outside the area to collect and hold up the ball, but playing as the lone striker probably didn’t help his cause either as he was often left isolated. When Fabio Borini was brought off the bench, this helped to improve Liverpool’s shape and eventually led to them winning the game (although I do feel the Reds were very fortunate and have the Ludogorets keeper to thank for that) and must improve if they are to progress this season.

Brendan Rodgers should continue to deploy the 4-4-2 diamond formation and I believe that this would allow Mario Balotelli to flourish – he would receive support from a fellow striker and from the midfield, particularly if Raheem Sterling is positioned at the tip of the diamond.

In summary, it wasn’t the best Liverpool performance by any means. However, they showed character and resilience to win a game that they could easily have drawn or even lost. That in itself is a positive, considering the poor performance last weekend against Aston Villa. The most important aspect of this game was the result but Rodgers and his players know that greater tests lie ahead in their Champions League quest.

Next up. Basel.

Rahman Red Reflection: Vivacious Villa Emerge Victorious

Gabriel Agbonlahor’s ninth-minute strike for Aston Villa was enough to punish a lifeless Liverpool and secure three well-deserved points for the visitors.

Brendan Rodgers was forced to reshuffle his pack as Daniel Sturridge, Joe Allen and Emre Can were confined to the sidelines after picking up injuries during international duty, handing Anfield debuts to Adam Lallana, Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno. The Reds fell behind after failing to deal with a corner, allowing Villa striker Agbonlahor to prod the ball in from close range. Liverpool continued to show nervousness from set pieces and could easily have conceded more goals. As the match wore on, Liverpool dominated possession but the away side were rarely troubled. Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan was hardly tested as Rodgers’ side mustered eighteen shots in total – with only one shot on target.

Daniel Sturridge’s absence was clearly felt in this game. He is a peripheral figure for Liverpool and they need him to return to fitness as soon as possible. I was also surprised that Raheem Sterling was on the bench – Rodgers was clearly looking towards Tuesday’s Champions League group match against Ludogorets Razgrad. I wouldn’t want to place so much pressure on his young shoulders as he is only 19 but I would have started him for this match, especially as our recent record at home against Aston Villa has been poor. Did he not get enough time to rest after returning from international duty? When I saw Rodgers’ team selection, I initially thought that Sterling could come on later in the game and make a positive impact but sadly for Liverpool, this did not happen on this occasion.

Adam Lallana made his first appearance of the season and I thought he played relatively well. He was replaced on the hour mark and was lacking match sharpness, but he showed glimpses of his qualities and a sign of things to come. The former Southampton skipper needs a good run of games and hopefully it will not be long until Liverpool see the types of displays that led to his acquisition from the south coast.

Mario Balotelli struggled to make an impact and was on the receiving end of some rough treatment from the opposing defenders. It was a difficult game for the Italian but he was good at holding the ball up and spreading the play to the wide players. Balotelli created a good chance for Lallana – his low drive from distance flashing just wide of Guzan’s near post.

Overall, it was a poor Liverpool performance but Aston Villa deserve great credit for their victory. Paul Lambert’s side were organised, stubborn, disciplined and had frustrated the Reds on a disappointing evening at Anfield.

Bring on the Champions League!