Stormzy opens Croydon football center as Selhurst arena is refurbished with recording studio and games centre

Stormzy has opened a new football center in Croydon, close to where he grew up, and is also equipped with a recording studio and games centre. The Brit award-winning rapper took over the Selhurst Sports Arena to launch Merky FC HQ in collaboration with Adidas.

The newly refurbished arena will allow football to be played on high quality 3G pitches and will act as a community space for Croydon’s creatives. Announcing the launch on X this morning, Stormzy said: “We all know there aren’t enough spaces for young people to hang out in, so we’ve teamed up with Adidas to create this football hub near where I grew up in Croydon.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a long, long time and now there’s a community space that everyone in the area will be able to use and benefit from.” Stormzy added: “#Merky FC HQ is for you to play, create and collaborate under one roof, so sign up, come and do your thing, this space is yours. Croydon we are open.”

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Stormzy on a chat showStormzy on a chat show

The rapper is one of the most famous Londoners out there – Credit: PA

As well as its football offering, the facility on Dagnall Park Road in Selhurst includes a recording studio, an EA Sports-sponsored games center and multi-purpose rooms. The state-of-the-art clubhouse replaces the previous prefab changing rooms that stood next to the pitches.

Stormzy added: “If you just provide a space, an opportunity, or just ignite a spark in someone, you don’t know where or what that person is going to be. To me it’s about sowing a seed, which sounds like a parable. , a bit like a fairy tale, but I don’t think people understand how powerful it is and how valuable it is.”

In a statement announcing the launch, Adidas’ commercial partners said: “The addition of the music studio will enable a strengthened offering for aspiring local artists to record, as well as a space for all other multimedia uses, including podcasts and gaming events.”

The facility, which sits behind the famous Brit School campus, will continue to host community and school events throughout the year. Previous users of the site include Crystal Palace’s youth academy and American football team the London Warriors.

Selhurst Sports Arena is managed by the Communities First Foundation, which aims to empower London’s communities through access to sport, training and employment support. The new facility will also provide new employment opportunities for coaches and community workers in the area.

Stormzy, real name Michael Omari, was born in Thornton Heath, just minutes from the new facility. His active presence in the community under his #Merky brand has also seen him become co-owner of AFC Croydon Athletic alongside fellow Croydonian and Crystal Palace alumni Wilfred Zaha.

The rapper also started offering financial support for black students who want to study at Cambridge University. In 2022, launched #MerkyFC (Football Careers) to support those from under-represented groups seeking employment in the sports industry.

As a result, over 60 people of black origin have been placed in roles across multiple brands in the football industry as of 2022. Croydon Council awarded Stormzy the Freedom of the Borough in 2023.

Today’s launch has garnered positive responses from fans, clubs and decision-makers alike. At X, Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones said: “All the love to Stormzy because he loves Croydon as much as we all do.”

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