Emirates Stadium

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Emirates Stadium
Emirates Stadium logo.svg
Emirates Stadium east side at dusk.jpg
Emirates Stadium in 2013
Emirates Stadium
LocationHighbury House,
75 Drayton Park,
London, N5 1BU
England [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Coordinates 51°33′24″N0°6′22″W / 51.55667°N 0.10611°W / 51.55667; -0.10611 Coordinates: 51°33′24″N0°6′22″W / 51.55667°N 0.10611°W / 51.55667; -0.10611
Public transit Underground no-text.svg Arsenal
Underground no-text.svg Holloway Road
National Rail logo.svg Underground no-text.svg Finsbury Park
Owner Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
OperatorKroenke Sports & Entertainment
Executive suites152
Capacity 60,704 [6]
Record attendance60,161 (Arsenal vs Manchester United, 3 November 2007) [7]
Field size105 by 68 metres (114.8 yd × 74.4 yd) [6]
Surface GrassMaster
Broke groundFebruary 2004
Opened22 July 2006
Construction cost £390 million (2004) [8]
Architect Populous [9]
Structural engineer BuroHappold
Services engineerBuroHappold
General contractor Sir Robert McAlpine
Arsenal (2006–present)

The Emirates Stadium (known as Ashburton Grove prior to sponsorship, and as Arsenal Stadium for UEFA competitions) is a football stadium in Highbury, England, and the home of Arsenal. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] With a capacity of 60,704 it is the fourth-largest football stadium in England after Wembley Stadium, Old Trafford and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.


In 1997, Arsenal explored the possibility of relocating to a new stadium, having been denied planning permission by Islington Council to expand its home stadium, Highbury. After considering various options (including purchasing Wembley Stadium), the club bought an industrial and waste disposal estate in Ashburton Grove in 2000. A year later, they received the council's approval to build a stadium on the site; manager Arsène Wenger described this as the "biggest decision in Arsenal's history" since the board appointed Herbert Chapman. [10] Relocation began in 2002, but financial difficulties delayed work until February 2004. Emirates was later announced as the main sponsor for the stadium. The entire stadium project was completed in 2006 at a cost of £390 million. [8] The club's former stadium was redeveloped as Highbury Square, an apartment complex. [11]

The stadium has undergone a process of "Arsenalisation" since 2009 with the aim of restoring visible links to Arsenal's history. The stadium has hosted international fixtures and music concerts.



Wembley Stadium was one of the sites Arsenal considered relocating to. Wembley Twin Towers - geograph.org.uk - 258671.jpg
Wembley Stadium was one of the sites Arsenal considered relocating to.

Spectator safety at football grounds was a major concern during the 1980s, following incidents of hooliganism, and disasters such as the Bradford City stadium fire and the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985, and the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. The Taylor Report into the Hillsborough tragedy was finalised in January 1990 and recommended the removal of terraces (standing areas) in favour of seating. [12]

Under the amended Football Spectators Act 1989, it became compulsory for first and second tier English clubs to have their stadia all-seated in time for the 1994–95 season. [13] Arsenal, like many other clubs, experienced difficulty raising income for converted terraced areas. [14] At the end of the 1990–91 season, the club introduced a bond scheme which offered supporters the right to purchase a season ticket at its renovated North Bank stand of Highbury. [14] The board felt this was the only viable option after considering other proposals; they did not want to compromise on traditions nor curb manager George Graham's transfer dealings. [15] At a price of between £1,000 to £1,500, the 150-year bond was criticised by supporters, who argued it potentially blocked the participation of those less well-off from supporting Arsenal. [16] A campaign directed by the Independent Arsenal Supporters' Association brought relative success as only a third of all bonds were sold. [17]

The North Bank was the final stand to be refurbished. It opened in August 1993 at a cost of £20 million. [18] The rework significantly reduced the stadium's capacity, from 57,000 at the beginning of the decade to under 40,000. [19] High ticket prices to serve the club's existing debts and low attendance figures forced Arsenal to explore the possibility of building a larger stadium in 1997. The club wanted to attract an evergrowing fanbase and financially compete with the biggest clubs in England. [19] [20] By comparison, Manchester United enjoyed a rise in gate receipts; the club went from £43.9 million in 1994 to £87.9 million in 1997 because of Old Trafford's expansion. [21]

Arsenal's initial proposal to rebuild Highbury was met with disapproval from local residents, as it required the demolition of 25 neighbouring houses. [22] It later became problematic once the East Stand of the stadium was granted Grade II listing in July 1997. [23] After much consultation, the club abandoned its plan, deciding a capacity of 48,000 was not large enough. [24] Arsenal then investigated the possibility of relocating to Wembley Stadium and in March 1998 made an official bid to purchase the ground. [25] [26] The Football Association (FA) and the English National Stadium Trust opposed Arsenal's offer, claiming it harmed England's bid for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which FIFA itself denied. [26] In April 1998, Arsenal withdrew its bid and Wembley was purchased by the English National Stadium Trust. [27] The club however was given permission to host its UEFA Champions League home ties at Wembley for the 1998–99 and 1999–2000 seasons. [28] [29] Although Arsenal's time in the competition was brief, twice exiting the group stages, the club set its record home attendance (73,707 against Lens) and earned record gate income in the 1998–99 season, highlighting potential profitability. [30]

Site selection and development proposals

In November 1999, Arsenal examined the feasibility of building a new stadium in Ashburton Grove. [24] Anthony Spencer, estate agent and club property adviser, recommended the area to director Danny Fiszman and vice-chairman David Dein having scoured over North London for potential areas. [24] [31] The land, 450 metres (490 yd) from Highbury was composed of a rubbish processing plant and industrial estate, 80% owned to varying levels by Islington Council, Railtrack and Sainsbury's. [31] After passing the first significant milestone at Islington Council's planning committee, Arsenal submitted a planning application for a new-build 60,000 seater stadium in November 2000. [24] [32] This included a redevelopment project at Drayton Park, converting the existing ground Highbury to flats and building a new waste station in Lough Road. [24] As part of the scheme, Arsenal intended to create 1,800 new jobs for the community and 2,300 new homes. [33] [34] Improvements to three railway stations, Holloway Road, Drayton Park and Finsbury Park, were included to cope with the increased capacity requirements from matchday crowds. [34]

A board displaying the acquisition of the Ashburton Grove site for the stadium development. Acquired for Arsenal Stadium development.jpg
A board displaying the acquisition of the Ashburton Grove site for the stadium development.

Islington Stadium Communities Alliance (ISCA) – an alliance of 16 groups representing local residents and businesses, was set up in January 2000 as a body against the redevelopment. [35] Alison Carmichael, a spokeswoman for the group, said of the move, "It may look like Arsenal are doing great things for the area, but in its detail the plan is awful. We blame the council; the football club just wants to expand to make more money." [36] Tom Lamb, an ISCA member, was concerned about as air pollution and growing traffic, adding "that is a consequence which most Arsenal fans would never see, because they are in Islington only for about thirty days a year." [32]

Seven months after the planning application was submitted, a poll showed that 75% of respondents (2,133 residents) were against the scheme. [36] By October 2001, the club asserted that a poll of Islington residents found that 70% were in favour, [37] and received the backing from the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. [38] The club launched a campaign to aid the project in the run up to Christmas and planted the slogan "Let Arsenal support Islington" on advertising hoardings and in the backdrop of manager Arsène Wenger's press conferences. [39] [40] [41]

Islington Council approved Arsenal's planning application on 10 December 2001, voting in favour of the Ashburton Grove development. [42] The council also consented to the transfer of the existing waste recycling plant in Ashburton Grove to Lough Road. [42] Livingstone approved of the plans a month later, [43] and it was then motioned to then-Transport Secretary Stephen Byers, who initially delayed making a final decision. He had considered whether to refer the scheme to a public inquiry, but eventually decided not to. [44] [45] Planning permission was granted by Islington Council in May 2002, [46] but local residents and ISCA launched a late challenge to the High Court, citing the plans were against the law. [47] Duncan Ouseley dismissed the case in July 2002, paving the way for Arsenal to start work. [48]

The club succeeded in a further legal challenge bought by small firms in January 2005 as the High Court upheld a decision by then-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to grant a compulsory purchase order in support of the scheme. [49] The stadium later became issue in the local elections in May 2006. The Metropolitan Police restricted supporters' coaches to being parked in the nearby Sobel Sports Centre rather than in the underground stadium car park, and restricted access to 14 streets on match days. These police restrictions were conditions of the stadiums' health and safety certificate which the stadium requires to operate and open. The road closures were passed at a council meeting in July 2005. [50]

Finance and naming

Securing finance for the stadium project proved a challenge as Arsenal received no public subsidy from the government. Whereas Wenger claimed French clubs "pay nothing at all for their stadium, nothing at all for their maintenance," and "Bayern Munich paid one euro for their ground," Arsenal were required to buy the site outright in one of London's most expensive areas. [51] [52] The club therefore sought other ways of generating income, such as making a profit on player trading. Arsenal recouped over £50 million from transfers involving Nicolas Anelka to Real Madrid, and Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit to Barcelona. [53] The transfer of Anelka partly funded the club's new training ground, in London Colney, which opened in October 1999. [54]

Arsenal organised another bond scheme in order to generate funds for the new stadium and redevelopment of Highbury. Arsenal Stadium interior North Bank.jpg
Arsenal organised another bond scheme in order to generate funds for the new stadium and redevelopment of Highbury.

The club also agreed new sponsorship deals. In September 2000, Granada Media Group purchased a 5% stake in Arsenal for £47 million. [55] As part of the acquisition, Granada became the premier media agent for Arsenal, handling advertising, sponsorship, merchandising, publishing and licensing agreements. [55] The club's managing director Keith Edelman confirmed in a statement that the investment would be used directly to fund for the new stadium. [55] The collapse of ITV Digital (part-owned by Granada) in April 2002 coincided with news that the company was tied in to pay £30 million once arrangements for the new stadium were finalised. [56] [57]

In September 2002, Arsenal formulated plans to reduce its players' wage bill after making a pre-tax loss of £22.3 million for the 2001–02 financial year. [58] The club appointed N M Rothschild & Sons to examine its financial situation and advise whether it was feasible for construction to press ahead at the end of March 2003. [59] Although Arsenal secured a £260 million loan from a group of banks led by the Royal Bank of Scotland, the club suspended work on Ashburton Grove in April 2003, saying, "We have experienced a number of delays in arrangements for our new stadium project in recent months across a range of issues. The impact of these delays is that we will now be unable to deliver a stadium opening for the start of the 2005–06 season." [56] [60] The cost of building the stadium, forecasted at £400 million, had risen by £100 million during that period. [61]

Throughout the summer of 2003, Arsenal gave fans the opportunity to register their interest in a relaunched bond scheme. [62] The club planned to issue 3,000 bonds for between £3,500 and £5,000 each for a season ticket at Highbury, then at Ashburton Grove. [56] Supporters reacted negatively to the news; AISA chairman Steven Powell said in a statement: "We are disappointed that the club has not consulted supporters before announcing a new bond scheme." [63] Though Arsenal never stated how many bonds were sold, they did raise several million pounds through the scheme. [56] The club also extended its contract with sportswear provider Nike, in a deal worth £55 million over seven years. [64] Nike paid a minimum of £1 million each year as a royalty payment, contingent on sales. [65]

Funding for the stadium was secured in February 2004. [66] [67] Later in the year Emirates bought naming rights for the stadium, in a 15-year deal estimated at £100 million that also included a 7-year shirt sponsorship, starting in the 2006–07 season. [68] The stadium name is colloquially shortened from "Emirates Stadium" to "The Emirates", although some supporters continue to use the former name "Ashburton Grove" or even "The Grove", particularly those who object to the concept of corporate sponsorship of stadium names. [69] Due to UEFA regulations on stadium sponsors, the ground is referred to as Arsenal Stadium for European matches, which was the official name of Highbury. [70] Emirates and Arsenal agreed to a new deal worth £150 million in November 2012, and shirt-sponsorship was extended to five years while naming rights were extended to 2028. [71]

Construction and opening

Actual construction of the stadium began once Arsenal secured funding. The club appointed Sir Robert McAlpine in January 2002 to carry out building work and the stadium was designed by Populous, who were the architects for Stadium Australia (home of the 2000 Olympics and the South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL club) and the redevelopment of Ascot Racecourse. [72] Construction consultants Arcadis and engineering firm Buro Happold were also involved in the process. [73] [74]

The Emirates Stadium under construction in May 2005 Emirates Stadium 02.jpg
The Emirates Stadium under construction in May 2005

The first phase of demolition was completed in March 2004, and two months later, stand piling on the West, East and North stands had been concluded. [75] Two bridges over the Northern City railway line connecting the stadium to Drayton Park were also built; these were completed in August 2004. [75] The stadium topped out in August 2005 and external glazing, power and water tank installation was completed by December 2005. [75] The first seat in the new stadium was ceremonially installed on 13 March 2006 by Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby. [76] DD GrassMaster was selected as the pitch installer and Hewitt Sportsturf was contracted to design and construct the playing field. [77] Floodlights were successfully tested for the first time on 25 June 2006, and a day later, the goalposts were erected. [78]

In order to obtain the licences needed to open, the Emirates Stadium hosted three non-full capacity events. The first "ramp-up" event was a shareholder open day on 18 July 2006, the second an open training session for 20,000 selected club members held two days later. [79] [80] The third event was Dennis Bergkamp's testimonial match against Ajax on 22 July 2006. [81] The Emirates Stadium was officially opened by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on 26 October 2006; his wife Queen Elizabeth II had suffered a back injury and was unable to carry out her duty. [82] Prince Philip quipped to the crowd, "Well, you may not have my wife, but you've got the second-most experienced plaque unveiler in the world." [83] The royal visit echoed the attendance of the Queen's uncle, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) at the official opening of Highbury's West Stand in 1932. [84] As a result of the change of plan, the Queen extended to the club the honour of inviting the chairman, manager and first team to join her for afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace. Held on 15 February 2007, the engagement marked the first time a football club had been invited to the palace for such an event. [85]

Loan repayments

Interest on the £260 million debt was set at a commercial fixed rate over a 14-year period. [86] To refinance the cost, Arsenal planned to convert the money into a 30-year bond financed by banks. [87] The proposed bond issue went ahead in July 2006. Arsenal issued £210 million worth of 13.5-year bonds with a spread of 52 basis points over government bonds and £50 million of 7.1-year bonds with a spread of 22 basis points over LIBOR. It was the first publicly marketed, asset-backed bond issue by a European football club. [88] The effective interest rate on these bonds is 5.14% and 5.97%, respectively, and are due to be paid back over a 25-year period; the move to bonds has reduced the club's annual debt service cost to approximately £20 million a year. [89] In September 2010, Arsenal announced that the Highbury Square development – one of the main sources of income to reduce the stadium debt – was now debt free and making revenue. [90]

When Arsenal moved to the Emirates Stadium, the club prioritised repaying the loans over strengthening the playing squad. [91] Arsenal's self-sustaining model relied heavily on qualifying for the UEFA Champions League; as Wenger recalled in 2016: "We had to be three years in the Champions League out of five and have an average of 54,000 people, and we didn’t know we would be capable of that." [92] The club sold several experienced players throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s and raised ticket prices, upsetting supporters who have called for change. Wenger took umbrage over criticism and revealed the bank loans were contingent on his commitment to the club: "The banks wanted the technical consistency to guarantee that we have a chance to pay [them] back. I did commit and I stayed and under very difficult circumstances. So for me to come back and on top of that [critics] reproach me for not having won the championship during that period it is a bit overboard." [93] Wenger later described the stadium move as the toughest period of his life because of the restricted finances in place. [52]


One of the murals installed on the stadium as a result of the Arsenalisation project. The Emirates Stadium - geograph.org.uk - 1717235.jpg
One of the murals installed on the stadium as a result of the Arsenalisation project.

In August 2009, Arsenal began a programme of "Arsenalisation" of the Emirates Stadium after listening to feedback from supporters in a forum. [94] The intention was to turn the stadium into a "visible stronghold of all things Arsenal through a variety of artistic and creative means", led by Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis. [95]

Among the first changes were white seats installed in the pattern of the club's trademark cannon, located in the lower level stands opposite the entrance tunnel. [95] "The Spirit of Highbury", a shrine depicting every player to have played for Arsenal during its 93-year residence, was erected in late 2009 outside the stadium at the south end. [96] Eight large murals on the exterior of the stadium were installed, each depicting four Arsenal legends linking arms, such that the effect of the completed design is 32 legends in a huddle embracing the stadium: [97]

Ian Wright George Armstrong David Jack Martin Keown
Cliff Bastin Tony Adams Liam Brady Thierry Henry
David Seaman Ted Drake David Rocastle Alex James
Patrick Vieira Reg Lewis Lee Dixon Joe Mercer
Dennis Bergkamp Bob Wilson Eddie Hapgood Charlie George
Nigel Winterburn David Danskin Kenny Sansom Jack Kelsey
Robert Pires John Radford David O'Leary George Male
Ray Parlour Frank McLintock Steve Bould Pat Rice

Around the lower concourse of the stadium are additional murals depicting 12 "greatest moments" in Arsenal history, voted for by a poll on the club's website. [95] Prior to the start of the 2010–11 season, Arsenal renamed the coloured seating quadrants of the ground as the East Stand, West Stand, North Bank, and Clock End. [98] Akin to Highbury, this involved the installation of a clock above the newly renamed Clock End which was unveiled in a league match against Blackpool. [99] In April 2011, Arsenal renamed two bridges near the stadium in honour of club directors Ken Friar and Danny Fiszman. [100] As part of the club's 125 anniversary celebrations in December 2011, Arsenal unveiled three statues of former captain Tony Adams, record goalscorer Thierry Henry and manager Herbert Chapman outside of the stadium. [101] Before Arsenal's match against Sunderland in February 2014, the club unveiled a statue of former striker Dennis Bergkamp, outside the west stand of Emirates Stadium. [102]

Banners and flags, often designed by supporters group REDaction, are hung around the ground. A large "49" flag, representing the record run of 49 unbeaten league games, is passed around the lower tier before kick off.

Structure and facilities

An aerial view of the Emirates Stadium and surrounding area. Arsenal's former stadium Highbury, which has since been redeveloped into Highbury Square is visible. Emirates Stadium, Highbury and its surrounds from the air.jpg
An aerial view of the Emirates Stadium and surrounding area. Arsenal's former stadium Highbury, which has since been redeveloped into Highbury Square is visible.

Described as "beautiful" and "intimidating" by architect Christopher Lee of Populous, [103] the Emirates Stadium is a four-tiered bowl with translucent polycarbonate roofing over the stands, but not over the pitch. [104] The underside is clad with metallic panels and the roof is supported by four triangular trusses, made of welded tubular steel. [104] Two trusses span 200 metres (660 ft) in a north–south direction while a further two span an east–west direction. [104] The trusses are supported by the stadium's vertical concrete cores, eight of which connected to them by steel tripods. They in turn each house four stairways, a passenger lift as well as service access. [104] Façades are either glazed or woven between the cores which allows visitors on the podium to see inside the stadium. [104] The glass and steel construction was devised by Populous to give an impression that the stadium sparkles in sunlight and glows in the night. [104]

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. [104] 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, which are sold on licences lasting from one to four years. 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 premium seating and corporate boxes is nearly as high as the revenue from the entire stadium at Highbury. [105]

Cannons positioned outside the stadium. Emirates Stadium - canons.jpg
Cannons positioned outside the stadium.

The upper tier is contoured to leave open space in the corners of the ground, and the roof is significantly canted inwards. Both of these features are meant to provide as much airflow and sunlight to the pitch as possible. [106] Supporters in the upper tier on one side of the ground are unable to see supporters in the upper tier opposite. [104] As part of a deal with Sony, the stadium was the first in the world to incorporate HDTV streaming. [107] In the north-west and south-east corners of the stadium are two giant screens suspended from the roof.

The pitch is 105 by 68 metres (115 by 74 yd) in size and the total grass area at Emirates is 113 by 76 metres (124 by 83 yd). [106] Like Highbury, it runs north–south, with the players' tunnel and the dugouts on the west side of the pitch underneath the main TV camera. The away fans are found in the south-east corner of the lower tier. The away supporter configuration can be expanded from 1,500 seats to 4,500 seats behind the south goal in the lower tier, and a further 4,500 seats can be made available also in the upper tier, bringing the total to 9,000 supporters (the regulation 15% required for domestic cup competitions such as the FA Cup and EFL Cup). [108]

The stadium additionally has facilities for fans with disabilities including a Guide Dog Toilet facility, a Disabled Supporters Match Day Lounge, Changing Places Toilet facilities which includes a hoist and changing table. In September 2017, Arsenal opened a sensory room at the stadium for the fans. [109] There is 241 wheelchair accessible seats within the Emirates Stadium. [110]

The Emirates Stadium pays tribute to Arsenal's former home, Highbury. The club's offices are officially called Highbury House, located north-east of Emirates Stadium, and house the bust of Herbert Chapman that used to reside at Highbury. Three other busts that used to reside at Highbury of Claude Ferrier (architect of Highbury's East stand), Denis Hill-Wood (former Arsenal chairman) and manager Arsène Wenger have also been moved to Emirates Stadium and are in display in the entrance of the Diamond Club. [111] Additionally, the clock that gave its name to the old Clock End has been resited on the new clock end which features a newer, larger replica of the clock. The Arsenal club museum, which was formerly held in the North Bank Stand, opened in October 2006 and is located to the north of the stadium, within the Northern Triangle building. It houses the marble statues that were once held in the marble halls of Highbury. [112]

Emirates Stadium - East stand Club Level.jpg
A panorama of players warming up from the east side


As of 2008, Arsenal's season ticket waiting list stood at 40,000 people. [113] There has also been discussion on the implementation of safe standing. [114]

Other uses

Concerts at Emirates
2008 Bruce Springsteen
2009 Capital FM's Summertime Ball
2012 Coldplay
2013 Muse, Green Day
The Killers

Aside from sporting uses, the Emirates Stadium operates as a conference centre. [115] On 27 March 2008, it played host to a summit between British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in part because the stadium was regarded as "a shining example of Anglo–French co-operation". [116] The stadium has been used as a location for the audition stage of reality shows The X Factor , [117] Britain's Got Talent [118] and Big Brother. [119] In 2016, the Emirates was a venue for Celebrity Masterchef , where contestants prepare meals for club staff members. [120]

Aside from sporting uses, the Emirates has been used as a music venue which increases the maximum capacity to 72,000. [121] Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band became the first band to play a concert at the stadium on 30 May 2008. [122] They played a second gig the following night. [122] British band Coldplay played three concerts at the Emirates in the June 2012, having sold out the first two dates within 30 minutes of going on sale. They were the first band to sell out the stadium for music purposes. Green Day set a gig attendance record when performing at the Emirates in June 2013. [123]

International football matches

The stadium has also been used for a number of international friendly matches all of which have featured the Brazil national football team. The first match was against Argentina on 3 September 2006 which ended in a 3–0 victory for Brazil. [124]

3 September 2006 Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg3–0Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina London
16:00 BST Elano Soccerball shade.svg 3', 67'
Kaká Soccerball shade.svg 89'
Report Stadium: Emirates Stadium [124]
Attendance: 59,032
Referee: Steve Bennett (England)
5 February 2007 Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg0–2Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal London
20:00 GMT Report Simão Soccerball shade.svg 82'
Carvalho Soccerball shade.svg 90'
Stadium: Emirates Stadium [125]
Attendance: 59,793
Referee: Martin Atkinson (England)
26 March 2008 Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg1–0Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden London
19:45 GMT Pato Soccerball shade.svg 72' Report Stadium: Emirates Stadium [126]
Attendance: 60,021
Referee: Mike Riley (England)
9 February 2009 Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg2–0Flag of Italy.svg  Italy London
19:45 GMT Elano Soccerball shade.svg 13'
Robinho Soccerball shade.svg 27'
Report Stadium: Emirates Stadium [127]
Attendance: 60,077
Referee: Howard Webb (England)
2 March 2010 Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg2–0Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland London
20:05 GMT Andrews Soccerball shade.svg 44' (o.g.)
Robinho Soccerball shade.svg 76'
Report Stadium: Emirates Stadium [128]
Attendance: 40,082
Referee: Mike Dean (England)
27 March 2011 Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg2–0Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland London
14:00 GMT Neymar Soccerball shade.svg 42', 77' (pen.) Report Stadium: Emirates Stadium [129]
Attendance: 53,087
Referee: Howard Webb (England)
29 March 2015 Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg1–0Flag of Chile.svg  Chile London
15:00 GMT Firmino Soccerball shade.svg 73'Stadium: Emirates Stadium [130]
16 November 2018 Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg1–0Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay London
20:00 GMT Neymar Soccerball shade.svg 76' (pen.) Report Stadium: Emirates Stadium [131]
Referee: Craig Pawson (England)


It is difficult to get accurate attendance figures as Arsenal do not release these, but choose to use tickets sold. [132] The average attendance for competitive first-team fixtures in the stadium's first season, 2006–07, was 59,837, with a Premier League average attendance of 60,045. [133] By the 2016–17 season, the reported average home league attendance was 59,957. [134] The attendances that Arsenal reported to the Metropolitan Police for the 2015–16 season show an average home match attendance of 54,918, ranging from a high of 60,007 against Aston Villa to a low of 44,878 against West Bromwich Albion. [135] The highest attendance for an Arsenal match at the Emirates Stadium as of June 2017 is 60,161, for a Premier League match against Manchester United on 3 November 2007. [136] [7] The lowest attendance at the ground is believed to be 25,909 for a match against FC BATE Borisov in the UEFA Europa League on 7 December 2017, however the official attendance for the game is recorded as 54,648. [137] [138]

The first player to score at the Emirates in a competitive fixture was Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg after 53 minutes. [139] In the same match Gilberto Silva scored Arsenal's first competitive goal at the ground. [139] Jay Simpson was the first Arsenal player to score a hat trick at the Emirates Stadium against Cardiff City in February 2007, [140] while Emmanuel Adebayor recorded Arsenal's 100th goal at the ground in January 2008 against Newcastle United. [141] Arsenal's biggest margin of victory at the Emirates Stadium was by seven goals, achieved with a 7–0 win over Slavia Prague in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League on 23 October 2007. [142] Their biggest margin of defeat at the ground was by four goals, when they were beaten 5–1 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16, second leg on 7 March 2017. [142] Robin van Persie has scored the most goals at the Emirates Stadium with 64. [142]

Transport and access

A map of the Emirates Stadium and surrounding connections Ashburton Grove.svg
A map of the Emirates Stadium and surrounding connections

The Emirates Stadium is served by a number of London Underground stations and bus routes. Arsenal station is the closest for the northern portion of the stadium accessed via the Ken Friar bridge, with Highbury & Islington station servicing the southern end. [143] While Holloway Road station is the closest to the southern portion, it is entry-only before matches and exit-only afterwards to prevent overcrowding. Drayton Park station, adjacent to the Danny fiszman Bridge is shut on matchdays as the rail services to this station do not operate at weekends nor after 10 pm. [144] £7.6 million was set aside in the planning permission for upgrading Drayton Park and Holloway Road; however Transport for London decided not to upgrade either station, in favour of improvement works at the interchanges at Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park stations, both of which are served by Underground and National Rail services and are approximately a ten-minute walk away. The Emirates Stadium is the only football stadium that stands beside the East Coast Main Line between London and Edinburgh and is just over 2 miles from London King's Cross. [145]

Driving to the Emirates Stadium is strongly discouraged as there are strict matchday parking restrictions in operation around the stadium. [143] An hour before kick-off to one hour after the final whistle there is a complete ban on vehicle movement on a number of the surrounding roads, except for Islington residents and businesses with a road closure access permit. [146] The parking restrictions mean that the stadium is highly dependent on the Underground service, particularly when there is no overground service in operation. [147] Industrial action forced Arsenal to reschedule the match for the following month. [147]

The stadium opens to ticket holders two hours before kick-off. [148] The main club shop, named 'The Armoury', and ticket offices are located near the West Stand, with other an additional store at the base of the North Bank Bridge, named 'All Arsenal' and the 'Arsenal Store' next to Finsbury Park station. [149] Arsenal operates an electronic ticketing system where members of 'The Arsenal' (the club's fan membership scheme) use their membership cards to enter the stadium, thus removing the need for turnstile operators. Non-members are issued with one-off paper tickets embedded with an RFID tag allowing them to enter the stadium.

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Arsenal F.C. Association football club based in Islington, London, England

Arsenal Football Club is a professional men's football club based in Islington, London, England. Arsenal plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club has won 13 league titles, a record 14 FA Cups, two League Cups, 16 FA Community Shields, the League Centenary Trophy, one European Cup Winners' Cup, and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

London Borough of Islington Borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Islington is a London borough in Inner London. The borough includes a significant area to the south which forms part of central London. Islington has an estimated population of 215,667. It was formed in 1965 under the London Government Act 1963, which simultaneously abolished the metropolitan boroughs of Islington and Finsbury.

Holloway, London Human settlement in England

Holloway is an inner-city district of the London Borough of Islington, 3.3 miles (5.3 km) north of Charing Cross, which follows the line of the Holloway Road (A1). At the centre of Holloway is the Nag's Head commercial area which sits between the more residential Upper Holloway and Lower Holloway neighbourhoods. Holloway has a multicultural population. It is the home of Arsenal F.C., and was once home to the largest women's prison in Europe, Holloway Prison, until 2016. Holloway is in the historic county of Middlesex.

Arsenal tube station London Underground station

Arsenal is a London Underground station located in Highbury, London. It is on the Piccadilly line, between Holloway Road and Finsbury Park stations, in Travelcard Zone 2. Originally known as Gillespie Road, it was renamed in 1932 after Arsenal Football Club, who at the time played at the nearby Highbury Stadium. It is the only tube station named directly after a football club. Although Highbury Stadium closed in 2006, the station retains its name and is still used by spectators attending matches at Arsenal's nearby Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal Stadium Former football stadium in Highbury, North London, England

Arsenal Stadium was a football stadium in Highbury, London, which was the home of Arsenal Football Club between 6 September 1913 and 7 May 2006. It was popularly known as "Highbury" due to its location and was given the affectionate nickname of the "Home of Football" by the club.

Gilberto Silva Brazilian footballer

Gilberto Aparecido da Silva is a Brazilian former professional footballer.

The 2006–07 season was the 109th season of competitive football played by Arsenal. It was the first season in which home matches were played at the over-60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium; the club's former ground Highbury was to be redeveloped as a residential development. Arsenal ended their Premier League campaign in fourth, level on points with third-placed Liverpool but with a marginally lower goal difference. In the League Cup, a competition which offered manager Arsène Wenger the chance to play his younger players, Arsenal reached the final but lost to a relatively experienced Chelsea side. The defeat was followed by exits in the FA Cup to Blackburn Rovers and in the UEFA Champions League to PSV Eindhoven.

Arsenal F.C.–Chelsea F.C. rivalry

The Arsenal F.C.–Chelsea F.C. rivalry, also known as the North West London derby, is a rivalry between London-based professional association football clubs Arsenal Football Club and Chelsea Football Club. Arsenal play their home games at the Emirates Stadium, while Chelsea play their home games at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal F.C. supporters Fans of Arsenal Football Club

London based Arsenal Football Club has developed a strong following since its founding in 1886. Since the 1980s, Arsenal's fans have often been referred to as Gooners, a derivation from the team's nickname, the "Gunners".

The 2003–04 season was the 106th in the history of Arsenal Football Club. It began on 1 July 2003 and concluded on 30 June 2004, with competitive matches played between August and May. The club ended the Premier League campaign as champions without a single defeat – a record of 26 wins and 12 draws. Arsenal fared less well in the cups, eliminated in the FA Cup and League Cup semi-finals to Manchester United and Middlesbrough respectively, and at the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League to Chelsea.

Highbury Square

Highbury Square is an apartment complex in Highbury, London. It is a redevelopment of the old Highbury Stadium site, the home stadium of Arsenal F.C. until 2006 when they moved to the newly built Emirates Stadium nearby.

The 2005–06 season was the 108th season of competitive football played by Arsenal. It was the final season in which home matches were played at the club's Highbury stadium after 93 years; Arsenal intended to move to its new 60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium in time for the following season. The club ended their Premier League campaign in fourth, having pipped local rivals Tottenham Hotspur to the position on the final day. Arsenal became the first London club to reach a UEFA Champions League final, though lost 2–1 to Barcelona in Paris. In the League Cup the club was eliminated in the semi-finals on aggregate score by Wigan Athletic and knocked out of the FA Cup, against Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round.

Arsenal F.C.–Manchester United F.C. rivalry Rivalry between two football clubs

Although Arsenal and Manchester United have frequently been in the same division in English football since 1919, the rivalry between the two clubs only became a fierce one in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the teams regularly competed against each other for the Premier League title and FA Cup. There was also an enmity between the managers, Arsenal's Arsène Wenger (1996–2018) and United's Sir Alex Ferguson (1986–2013), and club captains Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane, and their contests often involved on-field trouble – seven red cards were shown in matches from February 1997 to February 2005. The league fixture in September 2003, known as the "Battle of Old Trafford", was marred by a mêlée instigated by Arsenal players, who felt striker Ruud van Nistelrooy had cheated to get Vieira sent off. A season later, Manchester United ended Arsenal's unbeaten run in controversial circumstances, which led to more disorder, this time in the tunnel.

Arsène Wenger French football manager and player

Arsène Charles Ernest Wenger is a French former professional football player and manager. He is currently FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development. He was the manager of Arsenal from 1996 to 2018, where he was the longest-serving and most successful in the club's history. His contribution to English football through changes to scouting, players' training, and diet regimens revitalised Arsenal and aided the globalisation of the sport in the 21st century.

Arsenal F.C. in European football

Arsenal F.C. are an English professional football club based in Holloway, North London. The club's first European football match was played against Copenhagen XI on 25 September 1963, and it has since participated in European club competitions on several occasions, most of which organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Arsenal has won two European honours: the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1970 and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1994 – the latter title recognised by the European confederation. The club played the 1994 European Super Cup and repeated its presence in the following year's Cup Winners' Cup final. Arsenal also reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 2000 and the Europa League in 2019, and became the first London team to appear in a UEFA Champions League final, in 2006.

The 2013–14 season was Arsenal Football Club's 22nd season in the Premier League and 94th consecutive season in the top flight of English football. Arsenal participated in the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and the UEFA Champions League, after finishing fourth in the previous Premier League season. Despite an opening day 1–3 league defeat at home to Aston Villa, which exacerbated underlying anger at the club's inactivity in the transfer market, Arsenal's league campaign got off to a strong start. Early pace-setters in the title race, Arsenal led the table for much of the season, spending more time on top of the league than any other side. However, a combination of injuries to key players and heavy defeats away from home against other title challengers saw the Gunners' title ambitions evaporate by late March. Nonetheless, Arsenal achieved success in the FA Cup with a dramatic 3–2 win over Hull City in the 2014 Final, ending a nine-year trophy drought.

2009 Emirates Cup

The 2009 Emirates Cup was a pre-season football friendly tournament hosted by Arsenal at its home ground, the Emirates Stadium. It was the third Emirates Cup, an invitational competition inaugurated in 2007. Held on the weekend of 1–2 August 2009, the participants were Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Rangers, and Paris Saint-Germain.

2011 Emirates Cup

The 2011 Emirates Cup was a pre-season football friendly tournament hosted by Arsenal at its home ground, the Emirates Stadium in London. It was the fifth Emirates Cup, an invitational competition inaugurated in 2007. Held on the weekend of 30–31 July 2011, the participants were Arsenal, Boca Juniors, Paris Saint-Germain, and New York Red Bulls. The inclusion of the Red Bulls meant Thierry Henry returned to play against his former club, Arsenal. The 2011 edition, with the Red Bulls and Boca Juniors, also marked the first time clubs outside of UEFA's jurisdiction had participated in the competition.




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