Arsenal in the Community leader, Alan Sefton, has jokingly compared himself to Arsene Wenger because both are ‘survivors’ in their field.
Alan has been Arsenal in the Community’s leader for 31 years – longer than even Wenger has been at the club – but insists he’s just one piece of the puzzle.
“I want you to make this clear – it’s not about me!” Alan told Islington Gazette.
“Arsenal in the Community works as a team. We have a very sizable team, and to deliver, it needs to be very competent and very dedicated.
“I’m just one part of it.”
Alan might just be one part of it but he’s a pretty integral part…
“I’m like Arsene [Wenger] – we’re both survivors,” he joked.
“I have been involved with football in the community from the very beginning. When I was doing a Master’s degree, I went down to Portsmouth. Within a couple of days, I was doing things in the community.”
— Islington Gazette (@islingtongztte) October 30, 2017
Although Alan isn’t keen for all the praise to be heaped onto his shoulders, it’s thanks to him, as well as his colleagues, that Arsenal now have links with charities such as Centrepoint.
The work that Arsenal in the Community does is unfathomable.
From helping youngsters find a positive outlet through sport, to assisting with the education of those who aren’t as fortunate, helping those who are unemployed to find work, and striving to spread awareness and promote social inclusion.
They do everything to give back to the community.
— Arsenal Community (@AFCCommunity) September 19, 2017
Even the players get involved by visiting schools and meeting the people whose lives they’ve touched.
As Alan says, it’s not all down to him. However, he’s dedicated three decades to helping those less fortunate than himself and that speaks volumes. He now reaches 5,000 people in the surrounding area and beyond.
This is why many see Arsenal are more than just a football club or brand.
As Alan himself says, “The most satisfaction for me in that Arsenal in the Community is such an intrinsic part of the football club. All the projects are terrific. Look at our sports provision: we do football for everyone from amputees to the visually impaired.
“We are very inclusive: ‘Arsenal for everyone.’ Whatever your characteristics, you can get involved. I’m very proud of that.”