Wenger and Mertesacker launch Arsenal's new community hub
PUBLISHED: 18:06 11 May 2015 | UPDATED: 18:06 11 May 2015
2015 The Arsenal Football Club Plc
Stars head down to facilty, which finally completes £390 million Emirates regeneration project
The may have missed out on the Premier League title, but when it comes to supporting football in Islington Arsenal showed they have champion quality as they unveiled their huge multi-million pound sports education centre.
The Arsenal Hub, on the corner of Benwell Road and Queensland Road, near the Emirates Stadium, Holloway, was launched this week with a host of club’s stars in attendance.
On Friday, Per Mertesacker and Francis Coquelin joined more than 100 guests to celebrate the opening of the Hub as well as giving a surprise team talk to youngsters from the borough’s primary schools.
Then on Monday morning Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger dropped to officially cut the ribbon on the new community resource
Based around a 50 metre long 4G astro-turf pitch, the hub will deliver more than 50 hours of sports ediucation sessions to 1,500 locals when it’s fully up and running later this year.
Mr Mertesacker said: “As a player you are always concerned with what happens on the pitch, but it is great to see some of the work that the club does away from that.
“Growing up, I know how much I would have enjoyed a centre like this, right by my club’s stadium.
“So I am very happy that local people here have it.”
The facility also houses classrooms, a meeting space and the Arsenal Red Zone adult learning centre and is the new home of Arsenal in the Community.
It’s inspired by the ‘JVC’ centre at the old Highbury ground, and the opening marks the final completion of the £390million Emirates Stadium regeneration project, which includes a recycling centre and 3,000 new homes built in Holloway since the Gunners’ move in 2006.
Head of Arsenal in Community, Alan Sefton, welcomed guest before watching the first official game on the pitch between participants from a range of programmes.
Mr Mertesacker and Mr Coquelin helped to kick-off the game, before taking on the role of managers.
Mr Sefton said: “We are really excited to be up and running in our new centre. It’s a fantastic facility which will allow us to run more sessions and work with more individuals in the local area than ever before.”
Newly re-crowned MP for Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn, was among the guests.
He said: “The opening of the Arsenal Hub is really exciting for the borough.
“It will allow lots of people to fulfil their dream of playing and enjoying football and fitness at a centre by Emirates Stadium, and will have a positive impact on the local community as a whole.”
The opening of the Arsenal Hub coincides with the 30th anniversary of Arsenal in the Community, who have been delivering meaningful community projects in Islington since 1985.