Sterling treats former school as City fans stay away
Raheem Sterling has arranged for 550 pupils from his old school to attend Manchester City's FA Cup semi-final against Brighton.
The City and England forward met students from Ark Elvin Academy, Wembley, at City's training base in Manchester yesterday. He and the club are covering the cost of the tickets and transport.
Sterling, 24, was raised near Wembley after moving from Jamaica at the age of five and studied at Copland Community School, which was renamed in 2014.
Tomorrow's game will be City's fourth at Wembley this season, after the Community Shield, Carabao Cup final and their Premier League away fixture against Tottenham. It is also their first of three matches in eight days in London.
Consequently, they have sold only 25,000 of their 35,421 ticket allocation and returned about 2,000 of the more expensive tickets, which cost up to £120.
City supporters have complained about the 5.30pm kick-off and the threat of being stranded in London. The last train back to Manchester leaves at 9.24pm.
Sterling said: "I have a close connection to Ark Elvin Academy, so it is great to be able to give these students the chance to watch a game."
Chris Hughton, the Brighton manager, has, meanwhile, become the latest to speak out in favour of racially abused players walking off the pitch. The issue was in the spotlight again following England's Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro, where home supporters aimed racist taunts at Danny Rose and Sterling, who responded to monkey noises by tugging at his ears. Moise Kean, Juventus's Ivorian forward, was similarly targeted after scoring against Cagliari on Tuesday.
Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino voiced their backing last week for walk-off protests and Hughton has joined in.
"What you might see, because it's something that is recurring time and again, is that players themselves might have a bigger say and a bigger voice," said Hughton.
© Daily Telegraph, London