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Hackney Wick unveil unique new kit catching huge attention with important message

Hackney Wick have chosen to unveil a rather unique new kit which has been catching huge attention this week with an important message.

The popular Netflix show, ‘Top Boy’, has announced a sponsorship with Hackney Wick FC for its 2022/2023 season, partnering with London menswear brand Labrum to create two shirt designs for home and away games.

The British television crime drama series, which will return to the streaming service for its third and final season this summer, follows drug and gang crime on the fictional Summerhouse estate, filmed in and around east London as well as Hackney.

Initially airing on Channel 4 for two series in 2011 and 2013, the show returned with a Netflix reboot backed by singer Drake in September 2019.

This new partnership with Hackney Wick FC, founded by former gang member Bobby Kasanga in 2015, and the founder of Labrum, designer Foday Dumbuya, have proved to be a popular one just days after announcing the news.

The home and away shirts include a zig-zag pattern, similar to traditional African art which represents communities and different cultures, with the logo for ‘Grassroots For Good’, Hackney Wick FC’s charity, featured on the sleeve.

It also as the words ‘DESIGNED BY AN IMMIGRANT’ adorned across the back of the jersey.

Speaking about the new partnership, Bobby Kasanga said: ‘Top Boy touches on the real-life issues that the local people of Hackney are going through and represents the marginalised communities I came from.

‘As a show, it has also created opportunities for young people in the community affected by gang crime or violence.

‘Our club has worked hard to become a semi-professional team working with youngsters, and has been awarded for our ongoing community work in the borough.

‘I’m thrilled our efforts are not going unnoticed and I hope our collaboration with Top Boy provides a positive message of hope and opportunity to the young people of Hackney.’


Foday Dumbuya added: ‘Sport has a unique ability to unite communities in a shared goal – to win together.

‘The work that Bobby has done for grassroots football by building Hackney Wick FC really resonates with me.

‘Joining with Top Boy on this project was a real privilege; even more so to have the support from cast members from Hackney.

‘Actors like Hope [Ikpoku] and Araloyin [Oshunremi] are so inspirational for the youth players and the community, they embody the mantra that anything is possible if we come together and support one another.’

He says that in designing the kit, he included a bold graphic to incorporate ‘the rich diversity of Hackney and LABRUM’s celebration of West African heritage.

‘The zig zag is synonymous here. I hope the players will wear the kit with pride.’

Hackney Wick FC is the borough’s first-ever semi-professional football team with male and female teams from the age of 8.

The club is all about engagement, uniting local diverse groups and tackling peer pressure and tackling gang influences.

The HOME and AWAY kits are now available from Kit Locker, with a percentage of the sales going “back into (developing) the beautiful game.”

The shirts are fully customisable with a name and number on the back.

Hackney Wick are currently members of the Eastern Counties League Division One South and play at Spa Road in Witham.

Founded by Bobby Kasanga in 2015; it became Hackney’s first ever semi professional football club in nearly a century.

He says via the club’s website:We are not your regular football club, as our ethos is based on community engagement, uniting the local diverse groups as well as battling peer pressure and tackling gang influences.

“We engage 160 youths and 70 adults through our training, fitness and football matches. (16 youth teams plus sessions for children with additional needs as well as 2 adult teams). We do this by offering educational workshops, sporting opportunities, mentoring and access to work opportunities, which actively engage with those already involved in gangs, or those on-the-brink of gang life, and those who might not be aware of the threats out there (as a safeguarding tool).

“We are a community club whose members and players volunteer our services for free to the Hackney community. Be it providing free football coaching or helping out at various events our members come along and support. We will offer training, employment and community projects which promote health and well-being alongside community safety.

“Hackney was one of only a few areas without a professional or semi professional club, so this has captured the borough’s attention, including the local businesses and media.  Hackney is a huge catchment area with the potential to generate thousands of fans for a borough led team.

“In recent months we volunteered at Abney Park for their 175 year anniversary, Run Hackney Marathon, Hackney Wicked Festival, Den City, Refugee Camps in France, Hackney Wick Women’s Institute, Fairtrade Foundation, Hackney Quest, Wick Award, Hackney Museum, homeless shelters, Scope charity and created &  hosted The Hackney Cup for Health which attracts 500 people annually.

“We were founded in 2015 and since then we have appeared on BT Sports, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio 5 London, London Live TV, Copa90, Click on Soccer, Football Focus Magazine, Daily Mirror, Hackney Today, Hoxton Radio, Hackney Gazette, Hackney Post, Hackney Citizens, LoveEast Magazine, The Daisy Cutter, East London Lines plus many more.

“The reason for all this publicity is the way we operate as a football club. The adult members of the club all volunteer two hours a month to local causes and organisations which has propelled us into the heart of the Hackney Community. Not only with the young but also other vulnerable groups like the elderly who we invite to matches.”


“WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?” asks Kasanga.

“I was once a semi professional footballer who played for various teams in the Ryman and Conference leagues but because of the lack of opportunities locally and the influences of gangs and personal greed, I succumbed to a life of crime and was subsequently imprisoned on 2 occasions in my late teens and early 20s.

“However this experience, although at the time was upsetting and harmful turned out to be a blessing. During my incarceration on the second occasions I wrote 2 novels (published in 2014 and 2015) and also studied for a degree in criminology and social policy. It was while studying this subject that I finally understood that although crime was my choice, there were undying factors through social impacts and the surrounding influences that attributed to my behaviour. Main thing being, not enough positive male role models, lack of opportunities and closure and abolishment of youth activities or expensive and limited access. I met so many talented people in prison who inspired me and had gone through same path as mine.

“Without prompting upon 2 months of my release from prison in February 2015 I started this football club which now like I’ve said previously engages up to local 230 people every week.”

Twitter users reacted as Hackney Wick unveil a unique new kit catching huge attention with an important message…

@matthewnundy: Need need need

@AshleyBurton_13: Love the concept, love the kit. Well done to all involved 🙌🏾

@KsOllieU: @HackneyWickFC

@AusKitNerd: This is absolutely awesome 👏 Can’t wait for my

@mason0086: That gold kit …… ⚽️🔥⚽️🔥

@MattyRivs: def just ordered one of them @HackneyWickFC @topboynetflix joints 🔥🟠⚫️

@DonMokkz23__: This is so sick 👏🏽

@deanoflorence: This is 🔥🔥🔥🔥

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