Since its beginnings in the early 1980s, Arsenal in the Community has pioneered the use of football as a tool to engage and motivate young people in Arsenal’s neighbouring boroughs of Islington, Hackney and Camden, and throughout the UK.

The Double Club programme was developed following Arsenal’s double-winning season of 1997/98, when the club won the Premier League title and the FA Cup. Like a game of football, the programme’s delivery is usually divided into two 45-minute halves, giving participants an inspirational ‘double’ experience – in the classroom and on the football pitch.

In 2006, the original Double Club modules in Literacy and Numeracy were joined by the first Double Club Languages module in German, developed in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut and UK-German Connection. Launched in the build-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, this pilot project set the goal of making language learning accessible and fun for pupils, particularly those at Key Stage 3 about to choose their GCSE options.

Since then, Double Club Languages has gone from strength to strength. The programme is supported by the European Commission and a network of linguistic and cultural partner organisations, and currently includes modules at primary and secondary level in five languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Find out more with our interactive timeline:

Arsenal Double Club Interactive Timeline

1998

The first double-winning season

    Arsenal in the Community establishes Double Club after winning ‘the double’ – league and cup. Double Club initially includes modules in numeracy and literacy.

2005

Development of the German programme

    Arsenal begins collaboration with the Goethe-Institut and UK-German Connection for Double Club German (secondary).

2006

World Cup fever

    The Double Club German programme is piloted in secondary schools in the run-up to 2006 World Cup in Germany.
  • Arsenal begins collaboration with the Consejería de Educación for Spanish and the Institut Français for French.

2007

New language programmes are developed

    12-14 March 2009 – Double Club return trip: Brussel’s St Niklaas School pupils come to London. 34 Belgian pupils from St Niklaas School visited Emirates Stadium for the return leg of the exchange programme funded by the London and Brussels European Commission Representations. During the three days, pupils spent time in a local Double Club school (Highbury Fields) and took part in a football tournament against the three schools that visited them. They went to see the sights of London and toured Emirates Stadium before watching Arsenal play Blackburn Rovers. The winners of the football tournament were presented with Double Club Languages t-shirts and special Double Club London / Brussels Exchange certificates at a pitch-side presentation.
  • 2 April 2009 – Arsenal Double Club Primary Languages Launch at Emirates Stadium. Commissioner Leonard Orban joins Arsène Wenger, manager of the ‘Gunners’, Jim Knight, UK Schools Minister, Dr Lid King, UK National Director for Languages and head of Arsenal in the Community, Alan Sefton, at a language launch at the Emirates Stadium in London. Commissioner Orban met 70 primary school pupils who took part in the Double Club Primary pilot scheme and the children were awarded certificates and European Commission footballs.
  • 14-18 May 2009 – Double Club trip to Berlin, involving Thomas Lord Audley School and Dr Challoner’s Grammar School. The programme includeed visiting the sights in Berlin, watching Hertha BSC play Schalke 04 and meeting the footballers in training at the Olympic Stadium. The pupils took part in a 5-a-side tournament against German pupils from Heinrich-Heine-Oberschule from former West Berlin and Hagenbeck-Oberschule from former East Berlin. The pupils also spent a day in their German partner schools.
  • 2-5 October 2009 – Double Club return trip to London. German pupils from Heinrich-Heine-Oberschule and Hagenbeckschule visit London. The trip includes a tour of the Emirates Stadium and Arsenal Museum with language activities, an open air screening of a film by the Thames, a Double Club Languages workshop at the Goethe-Institut, a river boat trip and cultural activities in London, an inter-school football tournament, tickets to the Arsenal v Blackburn match and a day shadowing pupils and taking part in language activities in the UK partner schools (Thomas Lord Audley School and Dr Challoner’s Grammar School).

2008

Double Club hits Europe

    European Commissioner for Multilingualism Leonard Orban becomes a formal patron of the Arsenal Double Club Languages project while visiting the Emirates Stadium to see the Arsenal Double Club project in action.
  • Arsenal Double Club is granted 2 years of funding from the DCSF to develop the Arsenal programme further and roll it out to other clubs nationwide. (11 other football clubs develop MFL materials and run Double Club pilot projects during this period).
  • The Double Club French primary programme is developed and piloted.
  • Double Club wins CILT’s European Award for Languages.
  • The Double Club Spanish primary programme is developed and piloted.
  • 30 students from London schools Hackney Free, Highbury Fields and Lambeth Academy visit Brussels on the first Double Club Languages trip. The pupils enjoyed a day in the local school, St Niklaas, and shadowed pupils during classes to appreciate some of the differences between school life in Belgium and UK. The youngsters then took part in a football tournament with the Belgian school. They also had the opportunity to watch Anderlecht play and went sightseeing in the capital, including a special behind-the-scenes trip to the European Commission and Parliament.

2009

Double Club welcomes Europe

  • 12-14 March 2009 – Double Club return trip: Brussel’s St Niklaas School pupils come to London. 34 Belgian pupils from St Niklaas School visited Emirates Stadium for the return leg of the exchange programme funded by the London and Brussels European Commission Representations. During the three days, pupils spent time in a local Double Club school (Highbury Fields) and took part in a football tournament against the three schools that visited them. They went to see the sights of London and toured Emirates Stadium before watching Arsenal play Blackburn Rovers. The winners of the football tournament were presented with Double Club Languages t-shirts and special Double Club London / Brussels Exchange certificates at a pitch-side presentation.
  • 2 April 2009 – Arsenal Double Club Primary Languages Launch at Emirates Stadium. Commissioner Leonard Orban joins Arsène Wenger, manager of the ‘Gunners’, Jim Knight, UK Schools Minister, Dr Lid King, UK National Director for Languages and head of Arsenal in the Community, Alan Sefton, at a language launch at the Emirates Stadium in London. Commissioner Orban met 70 primary school pupils who took part in the Double Club Primary pilot scheme and the children were awarded certificates and European Commission footballs.
  • 14-18 May 2009 – Double Club trip to Berlin, involving Thomas Lord Audley School and Dr Challoner’s Grammar School. The programme includeed visiting the sights in Berlin, watching Hertha BSC play Schalke 04 and meeting the footballers in training at the Olympic Stadium. The pupils took part in a 5-a-side tournament against German pupils from Heinrich-Heine-Oberschule from former West Berlin and Hagenbeck-Oberschule from former East Berlin. The pupils also spent a day in their German partner schools.
  • 2-5 October 2009 – Double Club return trip to London. German pupils from Heinrich-Heine-Oberschule and Hagenbeckschule visit London. The trip includes a tour of the Emirates Stadium and Arsenal Museum with language activities, an open air screening of a film by the Thames, a Double Club Languages workshop at the Goethe-Institut, a river boat trip and cultural activities in London, an inter-school football tournament, tickets to the Arsenal v Blackburn match and a day shadowing pupils and taking part in language activities in the UK partner schools (Thomas Lord Audley School and Dr Challoner’s Grammar School).

2010

Continually supporting our community - and a World Cup song

    Arsenal FC in partnership with Goethe-Institut record the Double Club multilingual World Cup anthem and music video ‘Get the Ball Rolling!’ – with over 250 pupils performing the song at Emirates Stadium in 10 different languages.
  • The Double Club Portuguese Secondary programme is developed and piloted.
  • Double Club wins CILT’s European Award for Languages for the second time, for ‘outstanding contribution to languages’.
  • Double Club pupils visit Trieste, Italy, to attend the ‘Languages Meet Sport’ conference and perform the Double club multilingual song, ‘Get the Ball Rolling!’ with hundreds of Italian children and young players from Intercampus Sarajevo.
  • Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, visits an Arsenal Double Club Language Day at Emirates Stadium.

2011

Recognition for our work

    Double Club Languages is awarded the German Football Association’s Children’s Dream Award.
  • The Double Club Italian primary programme is developed and piloted in two Islington schools.
  • Arsenal Double Club develops a training programme for Sports and Language Leaders to support the delivery of Double Club Languages in over 20 primary schools in Bexley. The pilot project begins with the training of 50 sixth formers in the spring term.
  • Arsenal Double Club launches this website to showcase the languages programme, funded by the European Commission, developed by Cyber Duck, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut, UK-German Connection, the Consejería de Educación, the Institut Français, the Italian Consulate and Capital L – Routes into Languages.
  • The Double Club trip to Berlin for the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany takes place, funded by the Goethe-Institut. 20 pupils from two UK schools visit Berlin, attending the opening game, visiting a German partner school and taking part in various football and language activities.
  • Double Club Languages is awarded CILT’s Business Language Champions ‘Outstanding Commitment’ award.

2012

Double Club sings for the Olympics

    Double Club Languages receives funding from the Premier League Charitable Fund to subsidise the cost of the programme to primary and secondary schools in Arsenal’s operating boroughs of Islington, Hackney and Camden.
  • In the run-up to the Olympic Games in London, 2012, partners of the Arsenal FC Double Club Languages programme set a challenge for secondary school pupils from across the UK to write the lyrics for a multilingual Olympics-themed song, ‘Together in the Language of Sport’, in French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish, with a chorus in English. The response to the competition was astounding, with over 450 children taking part from over 50 schools throughout the UK. The project culminated in a large-scale activity day and performance of the song at the Emirates Stadium.
  • Double Club Languages is awarded the European Commission’s European Language Label award as the ‘best UK language project’, and nominated for the Europe-wide ‘Label of Labels’ award.
  • Double Club Languages is awarded the Threlford Memorial Cup by the Chartered Institute of Linguists for ‘fostering the study of languages’.
  • The Double Club Languages website is awarded the Communicator Awards ‘Award of Excellence’ in the Charitable Organisations / Non Profit category.
  • Delegates from the Arsenal, the Goethe-Institut and Goodlogic Projects present the Double Club Languages programme at the European Commission in Brussels and Luxembourg.

2013

Preparations for a World Cup film

    The German TV channel Deutsche Welle starts work on a documentary about Double Club, to be aired prior to the World Cup in Brazil, 2014.
  • Double Club Languages teams up with the British Council during International Education Week, sending British Council Language Assistants and Ambassadors into local primary schools to sample the programme’s resources.
  • Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is voted the Guardian ‘Public Language Champion’ for 2013 for his contribution towards promoting language learning in the UK.
  • Collaboration with the University of Roehampton begins, as PGCE MFL students volunteer a week of their time during the summer term to deliver Double Club Languages sessions intensively in local primary schools.
  • Double Club Languages is presented as an example of best practice in the Goethe-Institut Warsaw and Gothenburg.

2014

World Cup in Brazil

    Film-makers from Deutsche Welle’s Kick off! football programme spent six months accompanying a group of eighteen pupils from Bethnal Green Academy as they took their first steps in German with Double Club. The fantastic football and German experience culminated in a trip to Berlin, where the pupils met up with their project partners from the Rütli-Schule. The resulting ‘Kick off! special’ documentary aired to an enthusiastic response just before the World Cup.
  • With the FIFA World Cup taking place in summer 2014 in Brazil, the partners of the Double Club Languages programme launched a special competition for schools throughout the UK, in which pupils had to complete a series of creative challenges in Portuguese. Over 80 winning pupils were then invited to Emirates Stadium for a special Double Club Languages World Cup Day, delivered in collaboration with the programme’s partner institutes.
  • Double Club Languages collaborates with Arsenal Ladies to film a languages crossbar challenge video.