London United launches 2018 bid video

With London certain to play a central role in England’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, London United has launched a special video to showcase how football lies at the heart of the capital and all its communities.

London’s love of football stretches across all ages, races and genders. The exclusive film will not only demonstrate the diversity and breadth of the sport within the city but also feature a host of iconic landmarks, famous parks and global star players that encapsulate why London is the best location for FIFA to bestow on it the honour of being a key World Cup city.

The ‘Park Life’ theme is integral to London’s bid and is the creative used for the campaign, designed to play heavily on the tradition of the classic kick-around enjoyed by young children and adults throughout their lives in any of the 278 London parks and open spaces.

The film opens at dawn in an almost deserted Hackney Marshes where the local ‘parky’ hammers a corner flag into the corner quadrant.

The sound of his pounding starts the rhythm of the film’s song and the football related activities in the following sequences form the percussion as the song builds into a climactic ending, echoing the preparation and anticipation of a football match and the on-field action.

Though the film captures the passion of the amateur game, 'Park Life' is also interspersed with shots of Wembley Stadium and some of the world's and England's biggest football stars, who themselves have grown up playing on many of the park facilities that London has to offer, the fields where they dreamt of their World Cup future.

Each of the London born England players in the current squad has recalled their own ‘Park Life’ memories where they honed their skills to become international stars. It demonstrates the inextricable link between any 'Park Life' player and their rise to the pinnacle of football.

Chelsea and England star Ashley Cole recalls the joy of kick-arounds on Hackney Marshes:

“Some of my best early memories of playing football in a park were for my local Sunday team. The team was called Puma and we played at Hackney Marshes.

"I played alongside Ledley King and J Lloyd Samuel and we played against the likes of John Terry, and Bobby Zamora. It looks like that is a place where quite a few careers were started.”

England captain John Terry has fond memories of his local park:

“I lived in Barking as a youngster and right at the back of my house, literally just over the other side of the fence, was Newlands Park. That's where I played all of my football growing up.

"It was always me and my brother against our two next door neighbours, Danny and Billy. We used to pretend we were in the World Cup, and would be different teams each time.”

Peter Crouch of Tottenham Hotspur and England is another star who developed his game on one of London’s many park football pitches, this time in west London:

“I used to play at Pitshanger Park, which was my local park as a kid.  It was the best time for me, playing football with school friends.

"They are still my friends now. It is great to score goals in big stadiums but I had the most fun when I was playing in the park.”

West Ham and England striker Carlton Cole points out the importance of today’s youngsters having these London park spaces available to them:

“I grew up in Croydon and remember when I was younger going to the park many times, kicking a ball about with my uncle, cousins and friends. I think it is very important to have somewhere to play.

"You hear so much about young people and children not having that much to do where they live or the facilities to do things, so parks and areas like this are important to have.

"For youngsters who want to play football professionally when they are older, parks are where they can practice their skills and learn.”

Crouch’s England and Spurs team-mate Jermain Defoe also remembers his early footballing days:

“When I first started playing it was at the back of my Nan's house in Canning Town, east London. There was a field I used to play on with a few of my cousins and my mates who lived round there.

"We would use anything as a goal. Sometimes it could just be trees if they weren't too far apart or jackets.”

The ‘Park Life’ film is being released to coincide with England's last two World Cup qualifiers and can be viewed now at www.england2018bid.com

Pledge your support now by logging onto the website, clicking on “Add Your Support” then choosing London in the drop down menu for “Choose Your Host City.”

London is calling upon its football community to help secure one million signatories as part of the campaign.