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Club announcement

Supporting our community through COVID-19

Arsenal Football Club has never shied away from responding to the needs of its community.

In these uncertain times we are taking a series of steps to ensure our local and global communities receive our full support.

The Arsenal Foundation will donate £100,000 to local charities and organisations that are supporting those most in need during this COVID-19 crisis. We are in constant dialogue with Islington Council and our partners in the NHS to ensure this response is aligned with their priorities and supports those most vulnerable.  

A further £50,000 already donated to local community initiatives by The Arsenal Foundation, in partnership with Islington Giving, will also be re-directed to Islington Giving's Crisis Fund as part of this COVID-19 community response.

From Tuesday, March 24, we will make all Arsenal in the Community cars available to transport frontline NHS mental health workers. Driven on a voluntary basis by Arsenal in the Community staff, this service will support NHS workers in delivering vital medication and emergency supplies.   
Discussions are underway to support delivery in local schools and pupil referral units, whilst creating new digital resources for primary school children and other regular participants that are being asked to stay at home. These include online versions of the club's innovative Double Club education programme, which combines football and learning.

Arsenal in the Community's BTEC tutors are continuing to deliver classes remotely to ensure assignment deadlines are met, whilst our social inclusion staff are maintaining regular contact with the vulnerable young people they support to assess their needs and continue to support them.
Globally, we continue to stand with our communities in Za'atari Refugee Camp, Jordan and in Jakarta, Indonesia where The Arsenal Foundation runs Coaching for Life with Save the Children.   
With the Coaching for Life programme currently suspended in both locations, Arsenal coaches will work remotely with local coaches to continue to develop the resilience training modules of the programme. We will also support the children who normally participate in our programme with educational and morale-lifting contact, resources and messages. Together with Save the Children we will continually reassess whether and when we can resume delivery of our live coaching programme.
Our global charity partner Save the Children is developing a COVID-19 Hub to assist parents and children here in the UK, which we will also support with Arsenal educational resources and materials.   
Managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: "Arsenal Football Club exists to make our fans proud and create a sense of community for people in Islington, across the UK and around the world. During these uncertain and unprecedented times, we will endeavour to ensure that remains the case."


Brady pays tribute to Bill Darby

Liam Brady and Frank Stapleton

We were saddened to hear of the passing of former scout Bill Darby on Sunday.

Bill was our Dublin-based scout for more than 40 years, and was responsible for bringing a host of talented young Irishmen to the club, including Liam Brady.

"Bill began working at Arsenal at the very same time that I came over, in fact I was probably the first player that he was responsible for," Brady said. 

"We didn't used to have a scout in Dublin, but Gordon Clarke - our chief scout at the time - gave Bill a chance and it paid off in the end – for Bill, for the club, and for all the players he spotted, including me.

"I first met him when I was playing for St Kevin's Boys Club in Dublin. I would have been 13 at the time. Then I came over on trial in August 1969 and signed as an apprentice in summer 1971. Frank Stapleton joined the year after me in 1972, and David O'Leary followed in 1973. John Devine followed, and then Niall Quinn a few years later, so he had a great track record.

"He had very good contacts in the area, and was very aware of everything going on and knew about all the up-and-coming young players. 

"He had realised there was an opportunity in Dublin. The way he got the job was that he had written to Arsenal to tell them that Manchester United had it easy in Dublin, and all the good players ended up there because Arsenal weren't represented there. 

"So Arsenal's Welsh scout, Malwyn Roberts, went to a game with Bill to watch a game I was playing in in Dublin, and straight afterwards they went to my parents' house and said they would like to invite me to London. That's how it all started. 

"He later said to me his proudest moment was when myself, Frank and David all played in the 1979 FA Cup-winning side against Man United. It was ironic that it should be against them, because that was the reason he wanted to come in and scout players, because they were all ending up at United instead.

"I got to know Bill well later after that, especially when I became the head of youth development at Arsenal. He would give me the lowdown on what was happening in Dublin. We hired some scouts on his recommendation, and we brought in players from Dublin such as Stephen Bradley, who's now the manager of Shamrock Rovers, Stephen O'Donnell, Graham Barrett and Patrick Cregg. Maybe the most well-known was Anthony Stokes, who went on to have a good career at Sunderland and Celtic.

"So Bill's input remained a big part of the club, and I remember seeing him at the 2003 FA Cup final when we beat Southampton. That might have been the last time I saw him.

"People think that being a scout is just about recognising good players, but the really good players are not that difficult to spot! There is a lot more to it than that. You need to build relationships with parents, with players, and convince them to come to your club. Bill's record speaks for itself on that front."








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