Arsenal legend Martin Keown helped to open a new all-weather astroturf pitch at Ambler School, Islington.
The pitch is one of many surfaces being refurbished off the back of our Legends game against Milan Glorie at Emirates Stadium last September, which helped to raise £1m for The Arsenal Foundation.
The money from the game is being used to build football pitches for schools and community groups across north London. It will also fund the construction of new playing surfaces for children in Somalia and Jordan with our global charity partner Save the Children.
Martin paid a visit to Ambler School to see how the funds from the game are being used.
He was met by the entire school who were chanting with excitement. Martin joined a number of pupils to take part in a ribbon cut to officially open the brand new facility.
The Arsenal Legend then joined children on the new pitch for a kick around.
Martin said: "It’s brilliant that half of the money that was raised from the Legends game is now being used to build facilities like this in north London. These kids are going to school right next to Emirates Stadium and a few of these kids are dreaming of playing there one day.
"This is what it’s all about. For me, my best friend growing up was my back garden wall, but here they have a safe cage here with goals at each end and it’s enclosed, so it’s a perfect facility for them."
Arsenal’s relationship with Ambler School - like many other schools in our local borough - goes back some way as the club’s community department has provided Arsenal Double Club sessions, which uses Arsenal and football-based resources to help children with their numeracy and literacy learning. This pitch will now provide a facility for Arsenal in the Community coaches to run football sessions from this pitch.
Martin added: "I think it’s an outstanding commitment that Arsenal is not only funding to build these spaces, but also using them to run football sessions through Arsenal in the Community, leaving a legacy for years to come. It’s very important as football brings discipline and rules which helps children away from football."