Emirates Stadium

Opened 2006

Capacity 60,704

Rating: 4.6

(29144) Google Reviews

What an amazing place to visit. I have been a fan for so many years but never been to the stadium. Got the chance to do a tour and it was fantastic to see the stadium, museum and trophies. Saw the players changing rooms, dugouts, directors box and executive suits. Fantastic day
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a week ago
We weren’t able to see a game during our visit to London because of the international break. So a tour of the stadium was our alternative. The audio tour was fine, but the spaces speak for themselves. It was great to visit, but would have loved to see our lads.
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2 months ago
Great match day experience. Staff were amazing, friendly, and ensured the stadium was kept clean. Well organised, brilliant food and entertainment dotted around stadium, both inside and out.
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2 weeks ago
An amazing place to watch football! We went along as neutrals to an Arsenal women's match, and with 59,000 fans we were completely swept up with the atmosphere, becoming Arsenal fans for the day. The seats are more comfortable than in most stadiums and the facilities and atmosphere is excellent.
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2 months ago
My visit to the Emirates Football Stadium on a non-match day was an enlightening experience that offered a unique perspective on one of the most iconic football venues in the world. The first thing that struck me was the modern and sleek design of the stadium. The exterior's clean lines and contemporary architecture made it a standout in the heart of North London. The Arsenal logo and club colors proudly adorned the facade, leaving no doubt about the team that calls this place home. The stadium tour was a well-organized and informative journey through the inner workings of the Emirates. Exploring areas typically reserved for players and staff, such as the changing rooms and the tunnel leading to the pitch, was a thrilling experience. It provided insight into the behind-the-scenes preparations that happen before every match. One of the highlights of the visit was sitting in the stands, taking in the magnificent view of the pitch. Even without the roar of the fans, the stadium felt awe-inspiring. Imagining the electric atmosphere during a match was easy, and it left me with a newfound appreciation for the passionate Arsenal supporters. The museum within the stadium was a treasure trove of Arsenal's history. From historic jerseys and memorabilia to iconic moments in the club's past, it offered a comprehensive look at the rich heritage of Arsenal Football Club. The staff on the tour were knowledgeable and enthusiastic, sharing anecdotes and trivia about the club's history and the stadium's construction. Their passion for Arsenal was evident, and it added to the overall experience. In conclusion, visiting the Emirates was a captivating journey into the heart of Arsenal Football Club. The modernity of the venue, the rich history on display, and the insights into match preparations made it a memorable visit for any football enthusiast. It's a testament to the enduring legacy of Arsenal and the beautiful game itself.
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5 months ago
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History (from Wikipedia)

Background

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 CouncilRailtrack 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 RoadDrayton Park and Finsbury Park, were included to cope with the increased capacity requirements from matchday crowds.[34]

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 LondonKen 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]

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 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]

Things to do near the stadium.

Piebury Corner.

36 Reviews
Photo of Jane B.

Wow- so delicious. Just writing this review is making me want to fly back to London for another meal at Piebury Corner. The menu has a good variety of... Read More

Photo of Surashree K.

This little hole-in-the-wall place has one of the best pies I had in London. We ordered the chicken and porter, steak and ale and minced beef and onion... Read More

Photo of Will C.

Arsenal may have had a decade from hell, but we've got a damned good pie shop. Pierbury names its wide selection of pies after Arsenal legends. As I hate... Read More

New London Cafe.

25 Reviews
Photo of Sandie L.

Another cute cozy cafe/eatery near to islington tube station approximately 5-8 min walk With yelp as my source, i found this gem and I'd like to think help... Read More

Photo of Jaddis H.

Every walked into a place and you're instantly giddy because of the environment or build out? Cause that's exactly how I felt here!! My friends and I... Read More

Photo of Mariam K.

Wow! This was an amazing breakfast. We had the Oh LaLa and the Mad Med with sides of hash browns and wedge potatoes. Definitely generous portions! The Oh... Read More