An independent London school has had its new sports pitch officially opened by a latter-day footballing great.
Sol Campbell, a one-time captain of England, Arsenal and Spurs, and the only player to have represented the national side at six consecutive major tournaments, cut the ribbon on the new facility at DLD College London.
The on-campus pitch will not only offer students recreation space during breaktimes, but also evenings and weekends, a particularly welcome development at the only independent school in the heart of the capital with on-site boarding.
Besides opening the pitch, Campbell will act as an ambassador for DLD’s new football qualification, set to commence in September 2021.
“It was a huge privilege to host such a legend of the beautiful game,” said school principal, Irfan Latif, “and we are delighted that Sol will be supporting us as we develop our new, groundbreaking football programme.”
It was a huge privilege to host such a legend of the beautiful game and we are delighted that Sol will be supporting us as we develop our new, groundbreaking football programme – Irfan Latif, DLD College London
Besides chatting with pupils and signing autographs, the former centre-back professed himself impressed by DLD’s Black History Month celebrations and shared his own experiences of racism.
In his authorised biography, published in 2014, Campbell famously claimed that race was the reason he only led the national side on three occasions: “I believe that if I was white I would’ve been England captain for more than 10 years,” he said.
Principal Latif added that Campbell – raised as the youngest of 12 children in the London Borough of Newham – was an ideal role model for his pupils.
“Sol was from humble backgrounds and had to negotiate several barriers to achieve his significant successes, but was given an opportunity to show what he can do,” he said.
“[That] is precisely what we strive to do here at DLD – create unique learning opportunities so that our students and staff can excel. We look forward to working closely with Sol as we seek to develop the next generation of footballers.”