Jonny Zucker was a huge Arsenal fan and had season tickets with his sons.
In fact, not many people know this (until now!) but the fictional team in Striker Boy, Hatton Rangers, were originally going to be based in Kentish Town. However, eventually Jonny decided that it wouldn’t be believable to have another premier league club so close to Arsenal, and so Hatton Rangers got shipped out to Heathrow!
When we decided to contact all 92 league clubs to ask for their support, it was always essential to us that Arsenal come on-board. As Jonny’s team we just knew we had to have their support.
In September we sent out a speculative email to the club with our fingers crossed. Little did we know that two of the schools Jonny had worked with as an author had also contacted Arsenal on our behalf! The club also already knew Jonny because they had worked with him through the Premier League Reading Stars programme.
A few days later we received a reply from Jack McNicholl who helps run ‘The Double Club’, Arsenal’s schools outreach programme. The Double Club use Arsenal themed resources to engage children in maths, literacy and a range of other subjects. We met Jack in a coffee shop and told him what had happened and what we were trying to achieve. Although they never met, as a fellow former teacher and believer in the inspirational power of football, it was obvious that Jack really ‘got’ Jonny.
We weren’t sure what would come of that coffee as football clubs get approached daily by people wanting to work with them. That’s why we were over the moon when Jack emailed to say that he’d like to buy copies of Striker Boy as a Double Club resource. Not only that but Jack, and the head of the community trust Alan Sefton MBE, joined us on World Mental Health day to celebrate the relaunch of Striker Boy and pay tribute to Jonny.
We want to say a massive thank you to Jack, Alan and everyone at Arsenal in the Community!