The Arsenal in the Community team joined up with Sutton United for a day of football ahead of our FA Cup fifth round tie back in February 2017.
Teams from our boys’, girls’ and mental health programmes met for a series of games at Gander Green Lane, on the same pitch the two first teams would grace later that day. And watching on were former Arsenal duo Craig Eastmond and Roarie Deacon, who would both star for the hosts in their glamour tie.
Arsenal in the Community coach Dan Openshaw said of the day: “For our youngsters to get the chance to meet ahead of the FA Cup game – to play on the same pitch and use the same changing rooms as our first teams – it has just been brilliant.
“We’ve been working with Sutton’s community guys for a while now – organising tournaments and trips to each other’s grounds. They work so hard and what they do is incredible, really. To be able to celebrate that relationship and the work they’re doing has been brilliant.”
Arsenal in the Community and Sutton had been working together over the previous couple of seasons, organising football tournaments and trips to each other’s grounds.
The Gunners went on to win the tie 2-0 thanks to goals from Lucas Perez and Theo Walcott – his 100th for the club – on their way to lifting the trophy for a record 13th time (now 14) by beating Chelsea 2-1 in the final at Wembley in May 2017.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.