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Fever pitch! Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn at school for big opening

17 March, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Nigel Winterburn and Gunnersaurus help Hargrave Park School pupils and teachers open the new pitch

GUNNERSAURUS might be more recognisable to young children, but it didn’t stop pupils crowding around Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn and asking for his autograph.

Mr Winterburn, who was part of Arsenal’s famous back four in the 1990s, was at Hargrave Park School to open a new sports pitch in the playground on Tuesday.

While some children had to ask which adult Mr Winterburn was – some clearly getting shirts signed for their dads – one pupil congratulated him on his goal against Chelsea in 1997.

The artificial pitch is the first of many surfaces being refurbished thanks to a “Legends” match between Arsenal and AC Milan at the Emirates Stadium last September, which helped to raise £1million for The Arsenal Foundation.

Mr Winterburn signs pictures for the pupils

Mr Winterburn, who joined pupils for a training session, spoke of his pride after the Gunners beat the Italians 4-2. He said: “To get asked to play in a Legends game at the Emirates against Milan, and for the club to sell 60,000 tickets, is an amazing experience.

“But what’s more important is when you come back today and see what you’re helping to produce, not only for local children in the community, but around the world.”

With the help of Save the Children, the cash will also fund the construction of new playing surfaces for children in Somalia and Jordan.

Mr Winterburn added: “The kids at Hargrave School were playing on a bumpy and uneven surface before, and now they’ve got a brand-new astro-turf surface to have fun on and play.”

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