Friday 1 October 2021

Arsenal - The Emirates Stadium

Arsenal FC
The Emirates Stadium
Ashburton Grove
Highbury House
75 Drayton Park
N5 1BU

020 7619 5003
Official Website

Ground Number: 176
Tuesday 20th September 2011
Arsenal 3-1 Shrewsbury Town
Carling Cup 3rd Round



The club was established in 1886 by workers of a local munitions factory in Woolwich. Sixteen members contributed three shillings each to form the club originally known as Dial Square. They later changed their name to Royal Arsenal a month later, Woolwich Arsenal from 1893 until 1914 and then Arsenal from then on.


The club led a nomadic existence during their early years. They originally played on Plumstead Common before moving to the Manor Ground in Plumstead which is now an industrial estate. From 1890 until 1893 they played at the Invicta Ground across the River Thames, fairly near to Plumstead High Street. Financial struggles and the Suffragettes burning down their main stand led to Arsenal decamping to Highbury in North London, some 13 miles away. Highbury, better known as the Arsenal Stadium was their home from 1913 until 2006 and was well known for its pretty facade and marble halls. In 2006, the club moved to the Emirates Stadium, or Ashburton Grove to give it its unsponsored name.


After playing in local leagues for the first seven years of their history, Woolwich Arsenal were elected to the Football League in 1893. Starting in Division 2, the finishes were unspectacular at first. In 1904, they finished 2nd behind Preston North End to seal promotion to Division 1. Ongoing financial issues led to their relegation in 1913. Following the end of the First World War, Arsenal were elected to an enlarged 1st Division in 1919 where they remain to this day. They have won what is now known as the Premier League thirteen times, the first in 1931 under Herbert Chapman, the latest in 2004 under Arsene Wenger. From 1953 until 1989, they won the league just once, famously in 1971 as they did the League and FA Cup Double. Their lowest finish has been bottom in 1913 and 1925 but they have finished in the top half every season since 1976 aside from 1995 when they finished 12th under Stuart Houston. He remains the worst manager in terms of win percentage.

4:  FA CUP

Arsenal have won the FA Cup a record fourteen times. Their first win came in 1930 as they defeated Huddersfield Town 2-0 at Wembley. Their latest win came in 2020 as they beat Chelsea 2-1. They famously lost to Wrexham in January 1992, 2-1 at the Racecourse Ground with goals from Mickey Thomas and Steve Watkin. The giant-killing was especially notable as the previous season Arsenal had been league champions whilst Wrexham had finished bottom of the football league.


Arsenal have won the League Cup just twice. Firstly in 1987 as they beat Luton Town 2-1 at Wembley Stadium. They beat Sheffield Wednesday by the same scoreline in 1993 against Sheffield Wednesday, this was notable as it was the very same scoreline and opponent as for their FA Cup final victory that year.


Arsenal have won two cups in Europe. In 1994 they beat Parma 1-0 in Copenhagen thanks to a 20th minute Alan Smith goal. In 1970, they won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Played over two legs, they were up against it following a 3-1 defeat against Anderlecht in Belgium, though an 82nd-minute consolation by Ray Kennedy would prove pivotal. In the second leg, goals from Ed Kelly, John Radford and Jon Sammels saw them record a 3-0 win to complete a remarkable turnaround.


Former Wycombe Wanderers player Kevin Betsy is the current Under-23's manager at Arsenal. Other links between the clubs include Tony Adams who was hugely successful as a player at Arsenal but an almost complete disaster as manager at Wycombe although he did sign long-serving player Matt Bloomfield who is still at the club, having joined in 2003. Other links are mainly players that have come from Arsenal's youth setup and these include Paul Read, Anthony Jeffrey, Craig Easton, Tafari Moore, Sebastian Svard Ty Gooden and Scott Marshall. Of these, only Read and Eastmond were really a success.

The two teams have never met in a competitive game and the last time they met in a friendly was way back in 1992. Wycombe won 4-2 thanks to goals from Steve Guppy, Ty Gooden, Dave Carroll and Kim Casey whilst Arsenal replied through Mark Flatts and future Wycombe man Paul Read. Arsenal had some famous names in their side that night, despite it being primarily a youth side. David O'Leary and  Paul Merson played amongst others, although the full lineup is unavailable.


Here is my FAVOURITE Arsenal team, using players who have played from 1993 up until the present day. Yes, very 1990s-centric but that's what I'm nostalgic for.

David Seaman

Thomas Vermaelen
Tony Adams
Sol Campbell

Mark Overmars
Patrick Viera
John Jensen
David Platt
Freddie Ljungberg

Ian Wright
Dennis Bergkamp


The most famous piece of literature about Arsenal is Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, which was made into a film starring amongst others, Colin Firth. The film mainly focuses on Arsenal's famous 1988/89 title win when a last gasp Michael Thomas goal saw them snatch the league title off of Liverpool by virtue of a single goal. There was also a film in the 1930s called The Arsenal Stadium Mystery, another book turned movie that involved a player being poisoned. In the 1997 film, The Full Monty, the five main characters learn their dance moves by replicating the 'Arsenal Offside Trap', popularised by manager George Graham in the early 1990s. 


Arsenal has many famous supporters (by no means an exhaustive list), these include:

TV & FILM: John Challis (Boycie in Only Fools & Horses), Danny De Vito, Colin Firth & Bradley Walsh

MUSIC: Ray Davies (The Kinks), Tony Hadley, Martin Kemp & Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet), Roger Daltrey (The Who), Roger Daltrey (The Rolling Stones), John Lydon (The Sex Pistols) & Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)

SPORT (other than Football): Henry Cooper, Audley Harrison, Anthony Joshua, James Anderson, Ian Poulter, Frankie Dettori, Lewis Hamilton, Mo Farah and Andy Murray.


After visiting Tottenham on Sunday, I was looking forward to ticking off the other big ground in North London as Arsenal played Shrewsbury Town at The Emirates Stadium. Having seen that Arsenal always did cheap tickets for Carling Cup ties, and having not bothered in previous seasons, I was determined to get a ticket this time. The Shrews were the side that Wycombe stopped going up after a controversial non-goal by Gareth Ainsworth in a 1-1 draw at the New Meadow, last March. Actually, there were 45 other games that shaped that season, but this is the one incident that will stick in the mind of the Shrews fans. Once again I would be willing the League 2 side to win though, despite sitting in the home end, just as I had done for West Ham United v Aldershot Town a month previous.

I left home at around 4.30, having elected to go up on the train. It was far cheaper than driving and finding somewhere to park. I met fellow Wycombe fan, Ben Bodger Woodward, at the station by chance, and by a strange coincidence, he was also off to the same game. We went our separate ways though as he was waiting for some other mates. After a pain-free journey across London and into Arsenal Station, I had time to have a look round the outside of the stadium. There were several food and merchandise stalls in the vicinity of the stadium - food-wise, everything from Jerk Chicken to Greek Sausage. I opted for the healthy option - a punnet of grapes from the local Tesco Express, as I wasn't really hungry. I made my way into the stadium around 7pm, having a look around to see what there was. It looked fantastic under floodlights and the tannoy system was nice and loud. Arsenal did their usual thing of only reading out the home side's players first name, something that I have not seen elsewhere.

The game itself was a cracking cup tie, with Shrewsbury taking the lead through James Collins and coming close to adding to their tally. But Arsenal equalised through Kieran Gibbs just after the half-hour mark and despite Shrewsbury looking the better side, the teams went in level at halftime. Arsenal took control in the second half. Goals from new signings Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yossi Benayoun put the home side through to the 4th round. During the game, there was plenty of banter between both sets of fans. The stewards were constantly telling the Shrews fans to sit down and were getting plenty of stick because they didn't apply the same to the Arsenal fans as much. There were a couple of blokes who were especially persistent in arguing with the stewards, but they didn't get thrown out, yet another person who wasn't nearly as bad, got hauled out for lesser offences. Getting away from the stadium was pretty easy, despite a lot of people saying that it takes ages. I walked up to Highbury and Islington station, got on a train almost straight away and was back in Harrow by 10.30. Unfortunately, I had to wait over 30 mins for a train to Amersham, meaning I got in just before midnight - not good when you are up at 4 the next morning!

Arsenal 3-0 Brighton & Hove Albion, Premier League 2, 01/10/21

I'd fancied a revisit to Arsenal for a while. Although it wasn't on my priority list, I still wanted to add a bit more to my blog. I also felt that I'd not made the most of the day out last time and initially thought that I might visit for a League Cup or European game. However, the opportunity came on a Friday night after I'd been unable to find a game. The suggestion came from a most unusual source, Spurs fan and fellow groundhopper Colin. He spotted it on the Futbology app after I'd assumed it would be played at their usual backup venue of Borehamwood. I bought my ticket online for £4 plus £2 'Ticketfast' fee then had to do the same for Colin as he didn't want to go on the Arsenal database. Another hopper, Anwar is an Arsenal fan too and he was similar. When I went to Tottenham's new ground, he turned down the opportunity to come as he 'didn't want to sit with those cunts' as we couldn't get a ticket in the Middlesbrough end. Ironically, the two get on fine, despite supporting the bitter North London rivals. It was a print at home job and although I'd also stored mine on my phone, I printed both of ours out as insurance.

I'd got the tickets on Wednesday, then on Thursday I did some research on Arsenal's history and picked out a few bits to include on my blog. It was a reasonable day at work on Friday and I was out by 3. I drove to Colin, picking him up before parking a few minutes from the station. We got the 3.50 Metropolitan Line, changed at Kings Cross and were at Holloway Road by 5. It was a few minutes walk to my 211th Wetherspoons, The Coronet. It was an excellent establishment and I had two pints of Black Dragon with Fish and chips. All were fantastic and so it was a short walk to the Emirates for my second visit. I got a can of Irn Bru on the way and also an Arsenal face mask - in the style of their bruised banana kit - as I'd forgotten my own. It was then into the stadium where I got a picture of myself with Gunnersaurus. I was also labouring under a misapprehension - Colin's dad was actually a Spuds fan rather than Arsenal as I'd thought. It was still a cracking revisit though and even though it was a minor game, I still enjoyed it more than my last.

Brighton dominated the opening period but they were unable to score. Arsenal were awarded a penalty on 15 minutes and although the initial effort was saved, Folarin Balogun followed up with the rebound. On the half-hour, it was 2-0, this time it was Salah M'Hand netting from a left-wing cross. Balogun added his second and his team's third from the penalty spot on 68 minutes. And that was that as far as scoring was concerned, although Brighton had a late rally and were unlucky not to score a goal. We beat a hasty retreat and stopped at the same shop for another can of Irn Bru. We went back to Holloway Road, then Kings Cross before we had to make do with Harrow on The Hill as the Met was only going as far as Rickmansworth. It was a 20 minute stop as the Met was doing their usual trick of letting Chiltern do all the trains to Amersham, which at this time of night was one an hour. I dropped Colin off and was back home by 11. I'd certainly recommend a visit to an Under-23's game, the atmosphere is more relaxed and you can enjoy pre-match more without worrying about the crowds, plus the unusual kick-off times are good if you are busy on a Saturday.


On the football ground guide website, it claimed there was a Ladbrokes and a good selection of food. Both proved to be false though, with there just being match betting by Arsenal Bet and the usual dull selection of food at much higher prices than usual. The concourse was really spacious and the toilets a lot more upmarket than you'd expect to find at a football ground.

Inside the stadium was a lot better. I had read that the lower tier was a bit shallow, and not the best of view, but this turned out to be false. The view was excellent from all areas of the stadium and for the price of £10 was a bargain. The rest of the stadium was mightily impressive too, with large padded seats and plenty of legroom. There were a couple of video screens, one in each corner. This was not your typical "out of the box" new-build stadium, some thought had actually gone into it.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review, shame you had to see the ground on what was our lowest ever attendance at The Grove though!