They’re a bit heavy for keepy-uppies!

Arsenal star Saka helps out bowls club

Friday, 27th May — By Anna Lamche

Saka 4

Bukayo Saka ready for bowls. Photo: Arsenal Football Club

ARSENAL “starboy” Bukayo Saka has swapped his Gunners shorts for starched white trousers.

The England football international made the switch as he went to the Finsbury Park Bowls Club – as part of the Gunners’ meetings with the community organisa­tions, businesses and sports teams the club is helping through sales of their new kit.

Arsenal’s players made top secret visits to each one – with the organisations also gaining exposure for being in the promo video for the latest shirt. The club said it had featured various projects that have benefited from Arsenal Foundation donations over the past few years.

“The vice captain challenged him [Saka] to a game of bowls,” said Peter Paine, captain at the bowls club.

“He’d never played but he took to it very well.

“He was a nice person, a very honest, very open person, and he’s done wonders for our club.”

Leah Williamson at Islington Boxing Club. Photo: Arsenal Football Club

The team played in the new red and white strip for the first time on Sunday, against Everton. The shirt features a new polo collar with a retro-inspired “lightning bolt design.”

Saka played a “couple of ends” with the Finsbury Park Bowls Club, Mr Paine said, while Arsenal’s media team got some video footage and took photographs of the player with members.

“Arsenal kindly gave us two grants to maintain the club [in the past],” Mr Paine said, referencing donations made by The Arsenal Foundation.

“I’m the captain of the club so I will do anything to get funds for the club.”

Meanwhile, at Islington Boxing Club (IBC), Arsenal defender Leah Williamson got in the ring for the promo shoot.

“We got the new season’s home shirt before it came out – we were sworn to secrecy even though there were loads of leaks,” said IBC coach and manager Reggie Hagland.

Lotte Wubben-Moy at Tufnell Park School. Photo: Arsenal Football Club

Ms Williamson had trained earlier that day before being “put through her paces” at the boxing gym, Mr Hagland said, adding the Gunners media team filmed boxing training and the interior of the gym. “They said they might be there for hours for only 20 seconds of video clip,” he added.

“Leah was an absolute diamond. I think she was quite shy but she was a very popular person. All the kids loved her. I don’t know if she’ll come back, but she should,” he said.

To say thank you, Mr Hagland “insisted she keep the gloves” she trained in.

“It’s excellent for the boxing club,” said Mr Hagland, who is himself a season ticket holder and “die hard Gooner”.

He added: “The more they can do for us the better. This was a fantastic opportunity.”

Meanwhile, pupils at Tufnell Park School practised their ball skills with Emile Smith Rowe and Lotte Wubben-Moy, while Gabriel Martinelli dropped into the Maha Devi Yoga Centre in Holloway Road for “some quiet time”.

The club has pledged that £5 from every new home shirt bought directly through Arsenal ahead of the new season will go to The Arsenal Foundation to support community initiatives.

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