Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha teams up with UK rapper Stormzy to buy ninth-tier side Croydon Athletic

Wilfried Zaha StormzyGetty/GOAL
  • Pair were brought up in south London
  • Have acquired the local football team
  • Can they do a Salford or Wrexham?

WHAT HAPPENED? Zaha and Stormzy – whose real name is Michael Owuo Jr – both grew up in the south London district of Croydon and have been friends for several years. They have now joined forces, along with Palace’s former head of player care Danny Young, to acquire the community’s local football team – which currently turns out in the Combined Counties League Premier South Division, the ninth tier of English football.

WHAT THEY SAID: A statement from AFC Croydon reads: “The consortium will own, operate and develop their childhood hometown football club. While completion is subject to legislative and governance procedures, the three consortium members are excited about developing a community asset in the borough that gave them their own opportunities. They hope to take the entire community on this exciting journey with them.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Zaha also owns a team in his native Ivory Coast, with Espoir Club D’Abengourou having been bought alongside his brother Carin in September 2022.

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WHAT NEXT? The 30-year-old forward is also the proud owner of the Wilfried Zaha Academy, which is intended to leave a lasting legacy on the game, and will now be hoping to emulate the likes of Ryan Reynolds and Gary Neville at Wrexham and Salford respectively when it comes to overseeing a rise through the non-league ranks.

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