Arsenal Football Club celebrated 100 years in Islington on Sunday, September 22 with a range of special activities at the Premier League fixture against Stoke City.
A century on from the Club’s first ever game at Highbury in September 1913, Arsenal have gone on to become one of the biggest names in world football with millions of passionate followers worldwide. Despite its global fanbase, the Club’s roots in the local community remain as strong as ever, and Arsenal remains as much a part of Islington life off the pitch as it is on it.
To mark the milestone, the Arsenal first-team squad wore a special matchday shirt for Sunday’s fixture, with a line of commemorative text featuring the date of the game, ‘100 Years in Islington’ and ‘1913 – 2013’ on the front of the shirt. The shirts are now set to be auctioned for The Arsenal Foundation to support Islington-based community projects and good causes.
A number of special guests were also invited to the game to share the occasion, including the Mayor of Islington, Cllr Barry Edwards, Jeremy Corbyn MP for Islington North and representatives from St John’s College of Divinity, who provided the indenture for the original rental of the Highbury site.
A presentation was also made to guests of Leicester City Football Club, in recognition of them being Woolwich Arsenal’s first ever Highbury opponents back in September 1913.
The Club also shared the 100-year anniversary with two special centenarians who were in attendance on Sunday – Grace Young, a lifelong Arsenal supporter who celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this month and 103-year old, Harry Molineaux, another avid fan and born and bred Londoner who served as a gunner in World War II.
Supporters, meanwhile, were encouraged to get involved with the celebrations by sharing their stories of the Club in Islington and tweeting their memories to the official Arsenal Twitter account @Arsenal using the dedicated #Islington100 hashtag.
As part of the Club’s ongoing commitment to the local community, The Arsenal Foundation formally presented a donation of £150,000 to Islington Giving; a local organisation that invites residents and businesses to give what they can, be it money or time, to make a difference to the community.
Through the partnership, the Foundation will support Islington Giving in its efforts to address social isolation and unlock opportunities for individuals in the local community through sports, leisure and active lifestyles, including a youth engagement project delivering structured football activities on Friday evenings for young people at venues across the borough.
Speaking about the matchday, Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, said: “It’s a big occasion to respect an area where we feel completely at home. I was very happy when we discovered it was possible to keep our new stadium in Islington, because that was our desire – and hopefully we will be here for the next 100 years too. The Club has a special link with Islington and it’s a big part of what we are.”
To find out more about 100 years of Arsenal in Islington, visit www.arsenal.com/islington.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 21 Sep 2013