Ian Wright opens game changing football pitch at his primary school
Ian Wright opens the “Rocky & Wrighty Arena” funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation and EA SPORTS at his former primary school, Turnham Academy, in South East London.
Ian Wright was joined by members of David Rocastle’s family to open the new small-sided 3G football turf pitch, which is overlooked by the estate he and David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle grew up on. The pair honed their football skills on the former concrete pitches at the school before going on to play alongside each other for Arsenal FC.
The pitch, which features in-game, boasts a spectacular mural dedicated to the friends and former teammates painted by local artist, Lionel Stanhope.
The new floodlit all-weather facilities will be game changing for children at the school and people in the wider community, who will now have access to a quality, safe and inclusive place to play all-year round. As well as being used by Turnham Academy, Millwall Community Trust will use the space outside of school hours to run 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.
Ian Wright said: “Seeing this pitch open and looking so good makes me really proud. 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!
“I’m immensely grateful to the Football Foundation, its funding partners and EA SPORTS for making this happen, and for providing a safe space for the local community to come together and play the game that changed my life. Everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their potential, and this pitch will give kids from Turnham Academy and the local area, the space to do that.”
Robert Sullivan, CEO of the Football Foundation, added: “Whether you end up playing for Arsenal and England, or just enjoying a kick about with friends; having access to a great place to play is the vital start point for anyone’s football journey.”
“The investment of the Premier League, The FA And Government is providing more and more people with the opportunity to lace up their boots and enjoy the transformative benefit grassroots sport can have on lives and communities up and down the country.”
Last year, EA SPORTS joined forces with the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation to fund this £200,000 project.
David Jackson, Vice President of EA SPORTS Brand, said: “We’re entering an exciting new chapter of the future of football with EA SPORTS FC, and are 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 program.
“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."
Minister for Sport, Stuart Andrew said: "This brilliant project has been made possible by funding from the Government, the Premier League, and The FA through the Football Foundation. It will encourage young people to take part in grassroots sport, keep fit, and enjoy team activities.
"Not only will pupils at Turnham Academy enjoy the excellent new facilities, but a whole host of local clubs will also have access, including Millwall Lionesses and the LGBTQ+ inclusive team Millwall Romans.”
Miz Mann, Executive Headteacher at Turnham Academy, said:
“This pitch will be game-changing for the pupils at Turnham Academy and for the local community. The investment of the Football Foundation and EA SPORTS has given us fantastic facilities that we’ll be able to use all-year round, no matter the weather or the time of day.
“Ian and David’s legacy as former pupils mean a great deal to this school. I hope their success and Ian’s dedication to honouring his friend’s memory will inspire everyone who comes to play here. You never know, the next Rocky and Wrighty might be playing on this pitch right now.”
Lionel Stanhope, Mural Artist, said:
“It’s been a real pleasure to work on this project and to have the opportunity to pay tribute to two true legends of the game. I know how much this pitch will mean to the local community so I’m proud to have been a part of that process.”
"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." - Ian Wright
About the Football Foundation
The Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK. It champions and supports fair access to quality football facilities for everyone, regardless of gender, race, disability or place.
The Foundation receives money from the Premier League, The FA and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, through Sport England. This is matched with partnership funding and awarded as grants to create outstanding grassroots facilities that enable better games and attract more players, helping to transform communities.
Since 2000, it has awarded more than 21,860 grants to improve facilities worth more than £813m – including 996 artificial grass pitches, 9,612 natural grass pitches and 1,258 changing facilities. This has attracted an additional £1bn of partnership funding – totalling over £1.8bn investment in grassroots football so far.
Through the Foundation, the Premier League, The FA, DCMS and Sport England have come together to create Local Football Facility Plans for every area in England. They identify priority projects where demand is greatest, and the impact will be strongest. They will guide work and stimulate the action required to deliver them over the next 10 years to transform many more local facilities.
Visit footballfoundation.org.uk for more information on the Foundation.
About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company develops and delivers games, content and online services for Internet-connected consoles, mobile devices and personal computers.
In fiscal year 2022, EA posted GAAP net revenue of approximately $7 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for a portfolio of critically acclaimed, high-quality brands such as EA SPORTS™ FIFA, Battlefield™, Apex Legends™, The Sims™, Madden NFL, Need for Speed™, Titanfall™, Plants vs. Zombies™ and F1®. More information about EA is available at www.ea.com/news.
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