Croydon-born Stormzy launches brand new multi-use community centre in Selhurst

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Stormzy has opened a new football centre in Croydon, close to where he grew up, and it’s also fitted out with a recording studio and gaming hub. The Brit Award-winning rapper has taken over the Selhurst Sports Arena to launch Merky FC HQ, in collaboration with Adidas.

The recently refurbished arena will allow football to be played on high-quality 3G pitches and act as a community space for Croydon’s creatives. Announcing the launch on X this morning, Stormzy said: “We all know there’s not enough spaces for young people to hang out, so I teamed up with Adidas to create this football centre 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 all under one roof, so sign up come down, and do your own thing, this space is yours. Croydon we are open.”

Alongside its football offering, the facility on Selhurst’s Dagnall Park Road includes a recording studio, EA Sports-sponsored gaming hub, and multipurpose rooms. The state-of-the-art clubhouse replaces the previous pre-fabricated changing rooms that sat alongside the pitches.

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

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

The facility, which backs onto 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 the London Warriors American Football team.

Selhurst Sports Arena is managed by Communities First Foundation, who aim to empower London 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 away from the new facility. His active community presence under his #Merky brand has also seen him become the co-owner of AFC Croydon Athletic, alongside fellow Croydonian and Crystal Palace alumni Wilfred Zaha.

The rapper also began offering financial support for Black students wanting to study at Cambridge University. In 2022, he launched #MerkyFC (Football Careers) to support those from underrepresented groups seeking employment in the sports industry.

As a result, more than 60 people of Black heritage have been placed in roles across multiple brands in the football industry since 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. On X, Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones said: “All the love for Stormzy for loving Croydon as much as we all do.”


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