Plumstead Common, Manor Ground & Invicta Ground
Arsenal Stadium also known as Highbury was Arsenal’s home ground from 6 September 1913 to 7 May 2006.
The original stadium was built in 1913, when Woolwich Arsenal moved from the Manor Ground in Plumstead, South East London to Highbury, leasing the recreation fields of St John’s College of Divinity for £20,000. The stadium was hurriedly built over the summer of that year, and was designed by Archibald Leitch, architect of many other football grounds of that era; it featured a single stand on the eastern side, and the other three sides had banked terracing. The new stadium cost £125,000, with Arsenal’s first match of the 1913–14 season, a 2–1 Second Division win against Leicester Fosse on 6 September 1913.
No significant portion of Leitch’s original stadium remains today, following a series of bold redevelopments during the 1930s. The first of these was the West Stand, designed by Claude Waterlow Ferrier and William Binnie in the Art Deco style, which opened in 1932. Leitch’s main stand was demolished to make way for a new East Stand, matching the West, in 1936. The West Stand cost £45,000 while the East Stand went far over budget and ended up costing £130,000 The North Bank terrace was given a roof, and the southern terrace had a clock fitted to its front, giving it the name The Clock End.
Floodlights were fitted in 1951 and undersoil heating was added in 1964. Arsenal refused to install perimeter fencing.
The Clock End was redeveloped, with a roof and executive boxes fitted in 1989. The Taylor report the following year recommended all-seater stadiums. Arsenal launched a controversial 150 year debenture scheme to pay for the rebuilding of The North Bank as a purpose built all-seater stand.
The East Stand incorporated the club’s offices and was well known for its marble halls, the stand is considered architecturally significant enough to have been designated a Grade II listed building.
When it closed, Highbury had a capacity of 38,419, (approximately 12,500 in the North Bank, 11,000 in the West Stand, 9,000 in the East Stand and 6,000 in the Clock End); all seated, and had Jumbotron screens in the south-east and north-west corners
The stadium’s capacity led Arsenal to look for an alternative venue to enable it to generate more money and compete in the transfer market.
The options of redeveloping Highbury were restricted as the East Stand was a listed building and even though the West Stand was not, it would have been difficult to redevelop this stand, as there were houses behind it. The other option was to demolish the Clock End and make that a 12,000-seater stand. Additional seating could have been created if the four corners were “filled” in.
Arsenal’s final game at the stadium was their FA Premier League match on 7 May 2006 against Wigan Athletic, which they won 4–2, with their captain and all-time leading goal scorer, Thierry Henry, getting a hat trick.
Arsenal Stadium is currently being redeveloped and converted into apartments, in a project known as “Highbury Square”, a scheme that will see 711 properties built on the site. The North Bank and Clock End stands have already been demolished, with the famous clock having been moved to the new stadium; the exteriors of the listed Art Deco East Stand and the matching West Stand are being preserved and incorporated into the new developments, while the rest of the stands’ structures have been removed.
The Emirates Stadium, commonly referred to as the Emirates is the home of Arsenal since July 2006. The stadium has an all-seated capacity of 60,355. In October 2004, Arsenal entered into a naming rights deal with the airline Emirates for 15 years. The stadium project cost £300 million.
The seating is as follows, upper tier (26,646) and lower tier (24,425). The main middle tier, known as the “Club Level”, is premium priced and includes the director’s box. There are 7,139 seats at this level, which are sold on licences lasting from one to four years. The cost of club tier seats range from £2,500 to £4,750 per season. Immediately above the club tier there is a small tier consisting of 150 boxes of 10, 12, and 15 seats. The total number of spectators at this level is 2,222. Box prices start at £65,000 per annum. The most exclusive area in the stadium is known as the “Diamond Club” which is by invitation only and costs £25,000 up front plus £25,000 a year.
There are two club shops located at the stadium, The All Arsenal and The Armoury, whilst the Arsenal museum is located nearby but within the stadium area.
In the north-west and south-east, corners of the stadium are two giant screens suspended from the roof. The club are currently in the process of examining whether to add a third giant screen in the north-east corner of the stadium.
The first seat in the new stadium was ceremonially installed on 13 March 2006 by Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the Emirates Stadium.
The first match to be played at the stadium was a testimonial for Dennis Bergkamp against his former club, Ajax. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar became the first player to score a goal at the stadium, while Thierry Henry scored the first ever Arsenal goal.