History And Description
After receiving the denial from the Islington Council to expand the initial Arsenal stadium of Highbury, the home ground of Arsenal Football Club between 1913 and 2006, the possibility of relocating to a new stadium was explored by Arsenal in 1997.
In 2000 an industrial and waste disposal estate in Ashburton Grove was bought by the club and a year later the permission to build the stadium on that site was received from the Islington council.
Relocation process took its place in 2002, however, the process was stopped until 2004 due to financial difficulties. From the beginning of the construction, Sir Robert McAlpine was appointed to manage the building process and Populous to prepare the stadium design. Arcadis construction agency and Buro Happold engineering firm were involved in the process as well.
In March 2004 the first changes were made, followed by the stand piling on the West, East, and North two months later. In August 2004 two bridges were constructed over the Northern City railway which runs from Moorgate to Drayton Park in Highbury. The last installations were done in December 2005 and the first set was ceremonially installed by one of the team players Abou Diaby.
To receive an official license, the Emirates Stadium hosted three events: a shareholder open day on 18 July 2006, an open training session for 20.000 club members, and Dennis Bergkamp's, a Dutch famous footballer, testimonial match against Ajax (Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax).
The official opening of the stadium was hosted by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh alone on 26 October 2006, as his wife Queen Elizabeth II could not arrive due to the back injury. However, the team was invited to the tea at Buckingham Palace on 15 February 2007.
Later on, in August 2009, Arsenal began the process of ‘Arsenalisation' of the Emirates Stadium, meaning that the stadium shall become the historical and artistic center of the team. The first creative renovation was illustrated by the installation of white seats in the pattern of the club's logo. In 2009 "The Spirit of Highbury" monument was constructed at the south end of the stadium. The monument features a team line-up during Arsenal's 93-year residence. 32 Arsenal legends are depicting holding hands around the perimeter of the stadium. Players illustrated are 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 Pirès John Radford, David O'Leary, George Male, Ray Parlour, Frank McLintock, Steve Bould, Pat Rice.
Around the lower concourse of the stadium, there are 12 memorials illustrating the ‘greatest moments' of the club's history. In 2011- 2012 the colored seating quadrant of the ground were given names of the East Stand, West Stand, North Bank, and Clock End above which the new clock was presented during the match against Blackpool.
In 2011 two bridges near the stadium were renamed in honor of Ken Friar and Danny Fiszman- club directors. Afterward, in December 2011 three statues outside of the stadium were unveiled: the statue of the former team captain Tony Adams, team's goalscorer Thierry Henry and the manager Herbert Chapman. In February 2014 the new statue of the former striker Dennis Bergkamp outside the west stand of the stadium.
Stadium address: Highbury House, 75 Drayton Park, London, N5 1BU
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7619 5003