A new small-sided, floodlit 3G football turf pitch named after two former Arsenal stars, David Rocastle and Ian Wright, has been opened to serve the local community in South East London.
The £200,000 “Rocky & Wrighty Arena” – funded by the Football Foundation and gaming giant EA Sports – is located at Wright’s former primary school, Turnham Academy. Described as a “game changing” facility for young people in the area, the arena will provide a quality, safe and inclusive place for physical activity.
The arena will be used by the school during the day. Outside school hours, the Millwall Community Trust will use the space to run a number of community-focused activities – such as Premier League Kicks, walking football for adults, Weetabix Wildcats, Millwall Lionesses and Millwall Roman LGBTQ+ sessions.
Local club Hillyfielders FC will also be using the pitch for their training sessions throughout the week.
“Seeing this pitch open and looking so good makes me really proud,” Wright said.
“It’s going to make such a difference to so many kids in the area I grew up in. For me, it’s more than a pitch, it’s a tribute to my dear friend, David Rocastle, which I hope will inspire more young people to fall in love with football. We used to spend hours kicking a ball about and now these kids have a proper pitch to play on. It’s so exciting for them.”
The arena features a mural dedicated to the friends and former teammates, painted by local artist, Lionel Stanhope.
David Jackson, Vice President of EA Sports, added: “We’re thrilled to partner with the Football Foundation to provide increased access to sport for the next generation of football fans through our EA Sports FC Futures programme.
“The power of play is transformative, and our goal is to use our platform to support community level football, and grow the game for all.”