Over the last few weeks, there has been much talk of the ‘Arsenalisation’ of ‘The Emirates Stadium’ – home of my beloved Arsenal FC. I didn’t expect much to be honest. I thought this would mean a few large prints inside the stadium and a lot of talk. After all, making the stadium look great doesn’t make money for the club and Arsenal as a business are notoriously frugal – just look at the net transfer spend over the last 10 years.
So, imagine my suprise when I attended the game against Wigan last week and saw what had been done. It is absolutely fantastic and makes me even more proud to be a fan. Arsenal are a club with a rich history, and this work demonstrates that nicely.
I attended my first game at Highbury in 1992 as a twelve year old and have barely missed a match since then. I loved Highbury so much and thought that ‘The Emirates’ would never feel like home. When I walked into Highbury, you could feel the history. The Emirates on the other hand felt like a great big soul-less bowl. It’s taken time but finally it is beginning to feel more like a proper home and this work adds to the attachment that we supporters feel for the club.
On the last day at Highbury, there were a series of speeches. One of them was particularly poignant by Tom Watt. He said that of course the football memories were important, but what is more important is the sharing of moments. The highs and the lows shared with the people closest to you. The dad who takes his son…who takes his son in turn… ‘
The Emirates’ feels more and more feels like home and I can’t wait for the memories that haven’t even happened yet…