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The Last Stand 07
Photography Suzie Fownes, Sophia Kawyani

Sign up for tickets to the UK’s biggest street football tournament

Centring inclusion, positivity, and empowerment, The Last Stand aims to encourage young people to pursue their passions and join together over football

The UK’s biggest street football tournament, The Last Stand, is officially returning next week. 

This time, the event – which was first launched in 2016 by director and activist Gundeep Anand – invites 30 of London and the Midlands’ top female footballers, from 16 to 24 years old, to compete in a series of short street football matches at Birmingham’s Aston Villa Foundation arena. Winners get Nandos, losers get Chicken Cottage (sounds like everyone wins IMO). 

Centring inclusion, positivity, and empowerment, The Last Stand aims to unite communities and cultures, while celebrating young people’s creative talents through street football, music, and dance. Responding to growing gang culture and “divisive postcode wars”, Anand hopes the event will inspire young people to pursue their passions and build a community together.

“I spent a lot of time in Shepherd’s Bush and Ladbroke Grove, which is west London, and I felt like the kids who were over there didn’t feel like they could achieve much,” Anand told BCC. “I thought – instead of talking – why don’t I do something that comes into my mind, and I made it a reality.” 

Ahead of the event, Anand has created a short film, introducing some of this year’s players and building excitement for the big match. On her own Instagram, Arsenal FC & England International player Nikita Parris shared the video, showing support for the players.

Elsewhere, Former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand also filmed a special message for the competitors, stating: “Good luck, all you girls from London make sure you bring back the trophy. All the girls from The Last Stand, I’m here supporting, and I’ll be there in the future.”

Sign up for free tickets to The Last Stand here, and check out the film below.