Arsenal (The Emirates Stadium)
Ground Capacity - 60,704
|Arsenal Stadium Capacity:||60,704 All Seated|
|Pitch Size:||105 x 68 Metres|
|First Arsenal Match:||v Ajax, Dennis Bergkamp Testimonial 22nd July 2006|
|First Arsenal League Match:||v Aston Villa, 19th August 2006|
|Record Attendance:||60,383 v Wolves, 2nd November 2019|
The Emirates stadium is of a good size being over 60,000 in capacity and is four-tiered all the way around, which looks impressive. Described as “beautiful” and “intimidating” by architect Christopher Lee of Populous, the Emirates Stadium is a four-tiered bowl.
The upper and lower parts of the stadium feature standard seating. The stadium has two levels below ground that house its support facilities such as commercial kitchens, changing rooms and press and education centres. The main middle tier, known as the “Club Level”, is premium priced and also includes the director’s box. There are 7,139 seats at this level. Immediately above the club tier there is a small circle consisting of 150 boxes of 10, 12 and 15 seats. The total number of spectators at this level is 2,222. The high demand for tickets, as well as the relative wealth of their London fans, means revenue from the premium seating and corporate boxes is nearly as high as the revenue from the entire stadium at Highbury.
Though the Emirates Stadium is designed to be a continuous bowl, it has been split into four sections that pay homage to the old Highbury Ground.
Outside of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, there are bronze statues of former manager Herbert Chapman and former players Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry. Dutch Dennis Bergkamp saw his statue added at a later date; Ken Friar – an iconic non-footballing story associated with Arsenal also has a statue in situ at the Emirates.
Arsenal began to explore the possibility of relocating to a new stadium in 1997, having been denied planning permission to expand Highbury. After considering various options (including purchasing Wembley Stadium), the club bought an industrial and waste disposal estate in Ashburton Grove in 2000. Relocation began in 2002, but financial difficulties delayed work until 2004. The entire stadium project was completed in 2006 at a cost of £390 million.
The stadium has undergone a process of “Arsenalisation” since 2009 with the aim of restoring visible links to Arsenal’s history.
Record Attendance: 60,383
v Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League, 2nd November 2019.
- 2021-2022: 59,776
- 2020-2021: N/A
- 2019-2020: 47,589
- 2018-2019: 59,899
From April 2022 through to early 2023, the Gunners put the heads of “supporters, community, legends and staff” together as they looked to scope out what the club and the Arsenal stadium should look like in the modern era. Structurally, this ‘working group’ won’t have any impact on the ground, however, aesthetically there will be a huge overhaul at the stadium with the group linking with Jeremy Deller, Reuben Dangoor and David Rudnick; each of those three are highly respected in the world of art and/or graphic design. They are now creating eight different art projects to force the Emirates stadium to become even more synonymous with Arsenal. Those pieces are detailed below:
- Legends & Cannons – this artwork will showcase the famous Arsenal cannons, a dozen former players and the words “Victoria Concordia Crescit” – it translates to “Victory through Harmony”
- A nod to Highbury – it’s possible this piece will strike a chord with Gunners’ fans the most as it links together figures of their past, such as Arsene Wenger, whilst being designed to resemble the old stadium’s East Stand
- Two Teams – the third artwork project at the Arsenal stadium sees two of the most successful sides in their history immortalised in print. It will show the Women’s Champions League winners and the 2004 Invincibles team.
- A view from the train – next up this piece is a little less football focussed and more tailored to bragging rights with it’s “Welcome to North London” message. Visible from the passing train passengers, it might rub a few Spurs fans up the wrong way!
- 1886 – this is a plain and simple piece of art. 1886 is the year Arsenal were founded whilst a message of “Always Forward” will be overlaid to symbolise their path of progression.
- 187 flags – that’s right, this piece will really bring the fanbase together at the Arsenal ground. 187 flags have been pulled together with each being a different supporter’s group.
- Opportunity for Greatness – the seventh design pours a focus onto the club’s ability to develop their own talents as they always look forward
- Where you belong – last but not least there is a piece of work that includes a select number of fans (721 to be precise) selected for special reasons be it community work or being a true die-hard fan along with famous chants and historic banners and flags.
Highbury (also known as Arsenal Stadium)
1913 – 2006
|Ground Capacity Upon Closure:||38548 All Seated|
|First Arsenal League Match:||v Leicester Fosse 6th September 1913|
|Last Arsenal League Match:||v Wigan Athletic 7th May 2006|
|Record Attendance:||73,295 v Sunderland 9th March 1935|
Highbury – Looking towards the East Stand (Centre) and North Bank (Left)
Woolwich Arsenal moved from the Manor Ground in Plumstead to Highbury in 1913 and dropped the Woolwich to reflect the move away 10 miles Northwest. The new ground, built on the site of playing fields belonging to the St John’s College of Divinity at a cost of £125,000 and was designed by Archibald Leitch. Due to no access being available on the West side of the ground, Leitch designed a stand to be sited on the East side, incorporating a large multi span roof to attempt to keep the 9000 seats under it shaded from the sun. The remaining three sides of the ground was uncovered cinder bank terracing.
Major changes were afoot and in 1930, Arsenal appointed architect Claude Waterlow Ferrier to design a new Highbury, to be known as Arsenal Stadium. Ferrier’s masterplan began in 1931 with the extension of both end terraces that included the preparation of foundations of a new West Stand as well as the demolition of a house to provide access to the new stand from Highbury Hill. Legend has it that a local coal merchants’ horse, while dropping off spoil for the expansion of the terracing, had tumbled down an embankment and was injured so badly it was put down there and then and buried under the new North Bank Terrace, though alas 61 years later when the terrace was finally cleared to make way for its modern counterpart, no trace was found.
The West Stand began to take shape in 1932 and in time for its grand opening on the 5th of November of that year the club had also talked London Transport into renaming Gillespie Road Underground Station to ‘Arsenal’. The West Stand itself was nothing ever seen before at a British Football Ground. An Art Deco design externally rendered in white ‘Snowcrete’ render shaped into patterns including an ornamental concrete frieze bearing the clubs monogram AFC. The stands facilities were absolute luxury for the time, including on the second tier, 4,100 upholstered tip up seats that were link to heated lounges that were accessed by their own lifts!
The next change, in the summer of 1935, was to add a cover over the North Bank Terrace which was to include sliding doors at the rear to aid ventilation of the pitch. A 12ft clock which had previously sat at the rear of the terrace was moved over to the opposite end of the ground, giving it the name Clock End. This was the end of Ferrier’s masterplan for the Arsenal Stadium, though Ferrier himself, having passed away a few months previous never got to see it finished. This was the end of building work at the Arsenal Stadium.
But only a year later in 1936 the Leitch Stand on Avenell Road despite being only 23 years old was showing signs of disrepair and costs to fix it were spiralling so the club decided to replace the stand with something like Ferrier’s West Stand. William Binnie, the late Ferrier’s business partner was tasked to design its replacement. Just like the West Stand, the new East Stand did not disappoint. Open in October 1936, the stand had an imposing white Art Deco frontage on the street side, the stand contained the clubs’ new offices, boardroom, dressing rooms, gymnasium, canteen, and a bar. But in true Arsenal style, it was the grand marble entrance hall, which included a bust of then manager Herbert Chapman that capped off an architectural masterpiece. The Stadium was even the main star in the 1939 film ‘The Arsenal Stadium Mystery’.
East Stand Art Deco Frontage on Avenell Road
Though the club had trialled the use of Floodlights mounted along the front of the East and West Stand rooves as early as 1936 for use in training. After they were used for a charity game in April 1951 these lights were doubled in numbers and made a permanent fixture and used for a game v Hapoel Tel Aviv in September and officially inaugurated on the 17th October of the same year v Glasgow Rangers.
Highbury Hosting an Ali v Cooper Boxing Match 1966
In 1956, a replica of the North Bank roof which was destroyed during the war was built. In 1964 Arsenal experimented with undersoil heating, which was not successful. By 1969, 5,500 Seats had been installed in the West Stands lower tier. This would be the last major improvements for the next 20 years.
Highbury in the late 1980’s, from the North West Corner
In the summer of 1989, with Highbury falling behind its competitors in the terms of Executive Boxes. So, plans were drawn up to place some at the Clock End of the ground. Fans were hoping for something stylish to match the rest of the ground but were left disappointed as a double row of 53 boxes were ‘plonked’ above the terrace along with a new roof that covered the boxes and their balconies, and partly, the terrace below, which now had restricted views behind the monstrosity above’s thick concrete stilts.
The Clock End and the Executive Boxes
After the Taylor Report was published Highbury’s capacity drop to under 42,000 with 18,000 seated, with a view to become all seated by 1994. This would have reduced the capacity further to 32,000. With the Clock End and its new Executive boxes unable to be expanded further attention turned to the North Bank.
The New North Bank Stand
If the Clock End upgrade was a hideous quick fix, the North Bank development wasn’t. The New North Bank took over 12 months to complete and was quintessentially an ‘Arsenal’ stand in its facilities and didn’t disappoint with its style and grandeur. Open on the 14th of August 1993, the new North Bank costing £14m, with 12,400 seats over two tiers was applauded for its fans concourse and facilities which included a club boutique, games arcade, museum, cocktail bar and bond holders restaurant as well as its external Art Deco styling similar to Ferriers East and West Stands built 60 years previous. The entire upper tier was cantilevered over the bottom tier, which was an amazing engineering feat. At each end was a glazed spiral staircase and the stand was adorned with Art Deco styling.
The last game at Highbury v Wigan Athletic 2006
Along with the completion of the North Bank, the Clock End and both East and West Paddocks were seated, and two Jumbotron screens were installed at a cost of £3m to give Highbury its final finished modern look, though giving Arsenal a final all seated capacity of 38,500, this was to prove to small and plans were in the making to relocate and in 2000 the club purchase a site at Ashburton Grove, not far from Highbury and left in 2006 leaving the Stadium to be demolished and used for housing, though the listed facades of Ferriers East and West Stands live on by being tastefully implemented into the new apartment building built in there place, in a new residential development called Highbury Square, with the former pitch area used as a communal garden.
Left: Old and New. Highbury (Foreground) and Emirates Stadium (Top). Right: Highbury Square Apartments
Manor Ground – Plumstead
1893 – 1913
|Ground Capacity Upon Closure:||c35000|
|First Woolwich Arsenal League Match:||v Newcastle United September 2nd 1893|
|Last Woolwich Arsenal League Match:||v Middlesbrough 26th April 1913|
|Record Attendance:||32,850 v Aston Villa 8th October 1894|
Woolwich Arsenal as they were known, moved to the Manor Ground at Plumstead in the summer of 1893. The ground boasted a 2000 seat stand on the north side, a covered terrace on the south side and a vast Spion Kop on the east side of the ground with a sewer running behind. Regularly attracting crowds over 20000, Woolwich Arsenal begun to become a force in the game, that is until other London teams such as Chelsea and Clapton Orient joined the football league, followed by Spurs and Fulham and the crowds had alternatives to watch, which despite the Manor Ground being next to the Tramway, were easier to get to by public transport.
In 1910 Woolwich Arsenal were on the brink of going bust, until there savour in the shape of Henry Norris, the then second division Fulham FC Chairman saved the club. Norris wanted to merge both clubs and play at the newly built Craven Cottage, but the league refused, so Norris wanted Woolwich Arsenal to groundshare with Fulham, again with the league refusing permission. In 1913 the club was relegated to the second division after only winning one game at the Manor Ground all season. The supporters claimed Norris had run the club down so he could use the excuse of dwindling crowds to move the team to the more populated North London, to which he did. A sparse crowd of only 3000 witnessed the last league match v Middlesbrough played at the Manor Ground, ending in a 1-1 draw.
Though the old sewer is still visible, there is no trace of the old ground.
Where is the away section at Emirates Stadium?
Away fans at Arsenal’s ground, the Emirates Stadium, are housed in the lower tier of the South East corner.
How big is Arsenal’s away end?
The normal allocation for away fans is just under 3,000 tickets, but this can be increased for cup games. Although fans have big padded seats and plenty of leg room, the lower tier of the stadium is quite shallow (unlike the upper tiers which have plenty of height between rows), meaning that the view might not be as good as you would expect from a modern stadium.
After being searched by stewards outside the turnstiles, entrance to the stadium is gained via electronic turnstiles, where you need to enter your ticket into a bar code reader.
The concourse inside is not that spacious, but just about adequate but gets crowded quickly. There is quite a choice of food on offer, although some of it is rather pricey; that said, it’w what you expect for the city of London. The Club though does offer a Pie and a Drink at a reasonable price up to 45 minutes before kick off. If that sounds like something that appeals then happy days; just be aware that you’ll have a crowd to battle through. There are plenty of flat-screen televisions on the concourse to keep you entertained, plus there is a betting outlet.
I have been to the Emirates Stadium a couple of times now. The first was for an international friendly, where I had tickets for the upper tier of the stadium. I was very impressed all round with the stadium and had a great day out. The second visit was as an away supporter seated in the visiting section. On this visit, I was less impressed with the Emirates Stadium. The whole occasion just seemed as it was one big corporate event rather than a football match. Plus the view was that not that great and afterwards you almost questioned if the stadium did indeed hold 60,000, as the large gaps in the corners below the stadium roof, giving the illusion that it is smaller than what it is. The away fans are also located very close to the home fans, which led to a fair amount of rather unsavoury banter.
On the positive side the stadium is indeed one of quality. It looks and feels that it has not been ‘built on the cheap’ and is a ‘cut above’ most other new stadiums built in this country. The atmosphere is okay and the pitch even in January looked immaculate. On a lighter note look out for the rather odd looking mascot called ‘Gunnersaurus, which is not as you would expect coloured red and white, but instead a bright green, fluffy looking dinosaur. Card Payments are accepted for food and drink inside the stadium.
The Drayton Arms pub, directly opposite the big ‘ARSENAL’ letters, that was often dubbed ‘the away pub’ remains under a several-year, slow reconstruction.
Alternatives for away fans to gather are limited, but in smaller groups, away fans are sometimes welcome at the Twelve Pins near Finsbury Park station, whilst opposite is The Blackstock, which is popular with fans, too.
If you’re looking for something a little more mainstream, there is a Wetherspoons – the Coronet – on Holloway Road. All of these pubs are within a 10-minute stroll of the Arsenal ground.
The club anthem most commonly associated to Arsenal is “Arsenal, we’re on your side.”
Recently, a song by local boy Louis Dunford titled “North London Forever” has been played just prior to kick-off at the Emirates Stadium.
By Car: Leave the M1 at Junction 2 and onto the A1, following the signs for City (Central London). Keep going on the A1 for around six miles, until you see Holloway Road Tube Station on your right. Take the next left at the traffic lights into Hornsey Road and Arsenal’s Emirates stadium is about a 1/4 of a mile further down this road. Post Code for SAT NAV: N5 1BU
Parking: There is little parking at the stadium itself or in nearby streets. An extensive residents only parking scheme operates around the stadium on matchdays. It’s probably better to park further out of London around a tube station such as Cockfosters and get the tube to the ground. There is the Sobell Leisure Centre on Hornsey Road (N7 7NY). Just a 10 minute walk away from the Emirates Stadium, which costs £20 for up to five hours. You can pay by phone or via the RingGo App. There is also the option of renting a private driveway near to Arsenal’s ground via YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
What is the nearest tube station to Emirates Stadium?
By London Underground: The nearest London Underground tube station to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium is Holloway Road on the Piccadilly line. It is only a few minutes walk from the stadium, however, please note that the station is also closed after matches. On exiting the station turn right, cross over the road to the other side and then turn left for the stadium.
What is the best tube station for Emirates Stadium?
It may be a better idea to alight at the next stop on the Piccadilly line which is Arsenal tube station. Again it is only a few minutes walk from here to the stadium. On exiting the station turn right and follow Drayton Park Road around to the left. Then take one of the large bridges over the railway line to the stadium. Other tube stations in walking distance of the stadium are Finsbury Park on the Piccadilly Line and Highbury & Islington on the Victoria Line.
By Train: You can take an overground train to Finsbury Park Railway Station from London Kings Cross. It is then about a 10 to 15 minute walk from Finsbury Park to the stadium. Drayton Park Station which is situated right by the stadium is closed at weekends.
Local Advice: Unless your team are being stuffed and you are leaving the game a little early, then Arsenal tube station should be fine. If though you are staying to the final whistle, then you are better off walking to Finsbury Park, rather than wait in the long queues at Arsenal tube. To get to Finsbury Park, simple walk past Arsenal tube station on your left and then take a left into St Thomas’s Road. The station is at the end of the road. The Police also do a good job of controlling the flow of the numbers of fans onto the station.
- Tony Attwood adds: ‘Cockfosters underground station is the obvious station for fans travelling from the north – it is only about 4 miles south of the M25. It has its own car park but this can be full by as early as 12.30pm. What’s more, it can be difficult to exit after the game, with most drivers seeking to come out and cross the main road to head north. Unless you have an encyclopedic knowledge of the streets around the general area of the Emirates, it really isn’t worth trying to find some street parking. Football fans on matchdays are easy pickings for the traffic wardens, who contrary to popular belief, do work on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.’
- Tim Sansom adds: ‘After the game we had to walk a fair distance to find an underground station that had not been shut due to overcrowding. We found that the Arsenal underground had been shut by the police and so had to undertake a fairly long walk to Finsbury Park which was also shut by station staff. We were recommended by the police to take the mainline train into Kings Cross, which we did with no problems and were back in central London within 10 minutes’.
For travelling across London by public transport, FGG recommend planning your journey ahead with the use of the Travel For London Plan your journey website.
Where to Stay: Given Arsenal’s ground, the Emirates, is located in the city of London it’s highly plausible that you’ll want do more than just take in the stadium. If that’s the case an overnight stay might appeal. The four star Travelodge at Finsbury Park may well appeal with it’s cheap night price and close location; it’s under a mile away and can be walked within 15 minutes. It’s not your only option though; the Argyle Apart Hotel will cost you circa twice as much but is only half a mile from the Emirates. Of course, if you’re happy to take our advice on finding the stadium, you’ve got a sickening number of hotel options to explore in the wider area.
How much does it cost to visit the Emirates stadium?
The club operates a category system for ticket prices (A, B & C) at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium.
- Adult tickets range from: £28.50* to £103.
- Young Adult tickets range from: £21.50* to £77.25
- Juniors tickets range from £11* to £44.25*
*Family Enclosure Cat C Game.
Up-to-date ticket price information can be found on the club website, here.
Arsenal Match Tickets at the Emirates Stadium available from Seatpick.
There is a number of options available for a Emirates Stadium Tour.
- Stadium Tour
- Legend Tour
- Matchday Tour
- VIP Legend Experience
Prices range from £15 for the Whistlestop Matchday Tour, to £325 for the 4-Hour VIP Legend Experience.
Tickets can be booked online via the official Arsenal FC Stadium Tour Page or by calling 020 7619 5000.
For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the Level Playing Field website
Official Club Programme:
- Programme – £4.00
Sold outside the ground at small stalls.
- Gunflash Fanzine – £2.50
- The Gooner Fanzine – £2
- Up The A**e Fanzine – £1
Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur rivalry:
When it comes to the biggest derby that takes to the Emirates Stadium pitch it is simply no contest. Arsenal and Tottenham hate each other. The two sides are separated by just a few miles in North London.
Arsenal vs Manchester United rivalry:
Okay, so this rivalry has settled down a bit in recent years but only because neither club are close to the peak of their powers. Rewind to the years of Wenger vs Fergie and Vieira vs Keane though and, boy, was this match hot. It’s a long time back now but it still generates a buzz.
Arsenal vs Chelsea rivalry:
Finally, on the subject of biggest rivals, we have Arsenal vs Chelsea. The bitterness between the two dates back nearly a century but has become more and more heated since Chelsea received Roman Abramovich’s millions. We guess that’s what happens when you’re the two most successful clubs in London.