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Sutton United v Arsenal: Community teams celebrate unlikely union ahead of FA Cup game

PUBLISHED: 12:54 20 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:55 20 February 2017

Arsenal and Sutton community teams met at Gander Green Lane ahead of tonight's FA Cup game. Picture: Stuart MacFarlane

Arsenal and Sutton community teams met at Gander Green Lane ahead of tonight's FA Cup game. Picture: Stuart MacFarlane

Arsenal FC

It’s the archetypal FA Cup tie. Non-league Sutton United, with its 5,000 capacity ground, tonight host the world famous millionaires of Arsenal. But the clubs have actually been part of an unlikely union for the past couple of years.

For two seasons, Arsenal and Sutton’s community branches have worked together with tournaments and trips at each other’s grounds.

And ahead of tonight’s fifth round FA Cup tie, Arsenal paid a visit to Gander Green Lane, Sutton’s home, for a day of football. On Friday, teams from their boys’, girls’ and mental health programmes met on the same pitch as the first teams will play on tonight.

They were watched by former Arsenal players Craig Eastmond and Roarie Dacon – who now play for Sutton.

Arsenal in the Community coach Dan Openshaw said of the day: “To meet up with Sutton and play on the same pitch and use the same changing rooms as the players will use in the FA Cup tonight has just been a great experience.

“We’ve been working with Sutton’s community guys for a while now – organising tournaments and trips to each other’s ground. It was a nice celebration of that.”


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