On Wednesday 14 May 2008, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium will stage the O2 Community Fives, a five-a-side football tournament involving one hundred local kids, aged between 12–14, all chosen from the Borough of Islington in recognition of outstanding personal achievements. Footballing legends Bob Wilson, Ray Parlour and Martin Keown will be among the stars gunning for the teams and even taking to the field.
O2, Arsenal and the London Borough of Islington have joined forces to play host to the one-off event, which will see Arsenal and England women’s captain, Faye White MBE, lead the warm up for the girls and Arsenal legends Ray Parlour and Martin Keown, coach the boys before the game. The professional warm-up session will be followed by the 20-team O2 Community Fives tournament.
The full O2 Community Fives squad, forming 16 teams of boys and 4 teams of girls, has been drawn from members of the long running Arsenal Kickz programme. Launched in September 2006 by Arsenal Football Club, Arsenal Kickz aims to engage young people in the local community through a range of sporting, educational, disability and social inclusion projects. Arsenal in the Community coaches lead football sessions which take place four nights a week throughout the year at Elthorne Park and the sessions are open to all young people aged 10-18 years in the Islington area.
Mark Stevenson, Head of Sponsorship, O2 UK, said: “Having the opportunity to play on the pitch of one of the most prestigious football clubs in the world, alongside past and present sporting legends, is an experience money can’t buy. Through our partnership with Arsenal, and the London Borough of Islington we are thrilled to be able to give young people in Islington access to such a world-class venue. The people of Islington understandably have a natural affiliation to Arsenal and through this project we have been given the chance to give something back to the community.”