How ‘No More Red’ Is Changing the Way Football Clubs Impact their Community

How ‘No More Red’ Is Changing the Way Football Clubs Impact their Community

Whilst winning feels like the most important thing in football, some things are much bigger. Arsenal are proving it with their second instalment of ‘No More Red’.

January 26th 2023

Arsenal are currently top of the Premier League table and are looking like favourites to be champions come May. It's a feat that seemed almost unthinkable a few months ago, but if the Gunners keep collecting points the way they are, they’ll have their first league title in almost two decades. And although this is what every club sets out to achieve come August, it’s the North London side’s off-pitch impact and achievements that have been making the headlines recently.

Community has always been at the heart of Arsenal Football Club, so it should come as no surprise to anyone their hugely successful ‘No More Red’ campaign has returned for a second season.

First introduced to the world in January 2022, the striking all-white Arsenal kit made people stop in their tracks. For the first time in the club’s history, its iconic red strip had been drained of colour and was done so for a poignant reason: to get football talking about two of London’s biggest threats to young people, knife crime and youth-led violence.

Jack Ironside, Senior Manager for Social Inclusion at Arsenal in the Community – one of the partner charities associated with the ‘No More Red’ campaign – has played a crucial role in ensuring the club’s local community work connects with and offers support to those who’ve needed it most over the years. This often means combatting challenging issues like knife-crime, something Ironside understands cannot be solved solely by ‘No More Red’, but can help to shine a light on an issue generations have been plagued by.

“Whilst the club doesn’t have the answer to youth violence, we do feel like we can make a difference to aid young people in communities that are local to us. We understand that the social issue we are looking at has to be at the heart of all the work being done. It’s an issue that rips people’s worlds apart – the trauma and wider impact is massive, especially to the young people involved. The hope is that the white shirt is a message and it helps to raise awareness.

“The real action comes through speaking to young people and making tangible actions such as giving them opportunities, and celebrating their achievements. The club’s platform and adidas’ are both huge, and it’s all about how we build on that to provide guidance and development to these young people.”

Since its launch 12 moths ago, ‘No More Red’ has been on a mission to provide greater opportunities for the next generation of creatives in particular, linking up with individuals like actor Idris Elba, DJ Emerald Rose Lewis and artist Reuben Dangoor, as well as granting access to a range of training via Arsenal’s community partners. All in an effort to keep young people away from potentially dangerous situations, whilst helping them to build skills for a future full of possibilities. Something Hale End graduate and current Arsenal player Emile Smith Rowe thinks is invaluable.

“Growing up in London and being around tough situations, it makes it a little more important to me to be involved in campaigns like this. In fact, I actually feel quite proud to be a part of ‘No More Red’.” explained the born and bred South Londoner.

“I know young people look up to footballers and want to be like them, and so by being involved in initiatives like this one, it will also encourage others to give back and help their communities – if they can.

“I honestly think that football has the ability to create change. I like to think it’s the biggest sport in the world and if we are able to talk about issues like knife-crime and youth violence, plus offer ways for people to avoid dangerous situations, then that’s a good thing.”

Although the kit will never be commercially available, it will instead be awarded to individuals who are making a positive difference in the community.