AFC Wimbledon used the power of football to inspire creative writing skills among children during a “Stadium School” at the club last week.

Pupils from St Mary’s School in Wimbledon met manager Neal Ardley and wrote letters to star forward Adebayo Akinfenwa and goalkeeper James Shea as part of their visit to the Cherry Red Records Stadium.

A stadium tour included access to the changing rooms, press box, pitch side and meeting safety officer Phil Clark in the control room, which included an insight into how long it takes to evacuate thousands of fans at a stadium in case of an emergency.

In the President’s Lounge – a classroom for the day – club staff and teachers from St Mary’s worked with pupils on their creative writing skills using football and the stadium as a way to engage their interest.

As well as writing letters to players, pupils came up with ideas for poem titles, based on the idea "How do goalkeepers feel when they face a penalty shoot-out?" 

Kay Skelton, executive director at the AFC Wimbledon Foundation, said: “The children were really excited to meet Neal Ardley. A couple of the pupils were Wimbledon fans so it meant a lot to them.

"The feedback we got from teachers was that this type of event will really help children with their creative writing skills.”

Ardley said: “I popped in to see the children and events like this are great. If the club can get back home to Merton then the community stuff is something major that we can bring to the area.”