[From Islington Gazette]
Protest over Arsenal sports centre
05 March 2008
|Jeremy Corbyn MP (left) with Ian Shacklock at the protest|
CAMPAIGNERS behind a petition urging Arsenal to build a new sports centre alongside the Emirates Stadium protested outside of Islington Town Hall last week.
The original plans for the club’s new £350million stadium at Ashburton Grove, Holloway, included a replacement for the JVC Centre but Arsenal failed to deliver.
Instead the Gunners unveiled plans for a multi-screen cinema, bars and restaurants on the site.
Protesters gathered outside the town hall last Thursday evening in a bid to get more signatures on the petition.
The protest was led by Ian Shacklock, 48, of Monsell Road, Highbury, who estimates that he has now gathered 1,250 signatures.
He said: “We want to raise awareness to remind Arsenal that we are still expecting a sports centre.
“A cinema could go anywhere but what young kid wouldn’t want to get the chance to play football at the Emirates?
“It is important that people remember that we are not anti-Arsenal. One sports centre on the site of the Emirates is worth 1,000 elsewhere.”
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the protest, saying: “We are here because we are supporting Arsenal. So many kids can’t afford to go to Arsenal games but for them to be able to play at an Arsenal sports centre would be great.”
Tory MP and Islington resident Boris Johnson has signed the petition. He said: “I am backing the petition because it is the sort of initiative that has a positive impact on the local area.”
The petition can be signed at C & H Chemists and Whites Brothers Grocers in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, and Godfrey’s Butchers and La Fromagerie in Highbury Park, Highbury Barn. Alternatively e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a blank copy of the petition.