The Place We Used To Call Home

Muhammad Umar JawedCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2009

The Arsenal Stadium or  Highbury, as it was popularly known as, have now turned into an apartment complex. Arsenal gave farewell to Highbury with a 4-2 to win over wigan after that arsenal left Highbury and move on to Emirates stadium.

Arsenal had a great time in'the home of football'. So,I'll take a look at the 93 years of Arsenal at the Highbury.

The Begning


When Woolwich Arsenal moved from the Manor Ground  in PlumsteadSouth East London  to Highbury, leasing the recreation fields of St John's College of Divinity for £20,000. The stadium was hurriedly built over the summer of that year, and was designed by Archibald Leitch , architect of many other football grounds of that era; it featured a single stand on the eastern side, and the other three sides had banked terracing. The new stadium cost £125,000. It opened whilst not yet fully complete, with Arsenal's first match of the 1913–14  season, a 2–1 Second Division  win against Leicester Fosse  on 6 September 1913; Leicester's Tommy Benfield scored the first goal at the new ground, while George Jobey  was the first Arsenal player to do so. Highbury hosted its first England match in 1920. Arsenal bought the stadium site outright in 1925, for £64,000.


No significant portion of Leitch's original stadium remains today, following a series of bold redevelopments during the 1930s. The first of these was the West Stand, designed by Claude Waterlow Ferrier  and William Binnie  in the Art Deco style, which opened in 1932; the same year, on 5 November, the local Tube station was renamed from Gillespie Road to Arsenal. Leitch's main stand was demolished to make way for a new East Stand, matching the West, in 1936. The West Stand cost £45,000 while the East Stand went far over budget and ended up costing £130,000, mainly thanks to the expense of the facade. The North Bank terrace was given a roof, and the southern terrace had a clock  fitted to its front, giving it the name The Clock End.

The World War II


 During World War II  the North Bank terrace was bombed and had to be rebuilt; the roof was not restored until 1956. Floodlights were fitted in 1951, with the first floodlit match being a friendly against Hapoel Tel Aviv  on 17 October of that year. Undersoil heating  was added in 1964. Unlike at many other grounds, Arsenal refused to install perimeter fencing , even at the height of hooliganism  in the 1980s, a decision that saw it struck off the list of eligible FA Cup semi-final venues.


The Taylor Report and The Changes

In the early 1990s, the Taylor report  on the Hillsborough disaster  was published, which recommended that football stadiums become all-seater. The North Bank, which had become home of Arsenal's most passionate supporters, was demolished in 1992, and a new all-seater stand opened in its place the following year. During the work, a giant mural of fans was placed behind the goal at that end, to give the illusion that the players were kicking towards a crowd rather than a construction site. The mural initially attracted criticism for its absence of black fans, which was quickly rectified. The Clock End was also redeveloped, with a roof and executive boxes fitted in 1989 and seating installed four years later.

The Need For New Stadium


The post-Taylor capacity of Highbury was limited to 38,419, while Arsenal's success during the 1990s and 2000s meant that virtually every home match was filled to near total capacity. Restrictions, such as the East Stand's status as a listed building , and the fact the stadium was surrounded on all sides by a residential area , made any future expansion of Highbury difficult and expensive. Eventually, Arsenal decided to leave Highbury and construct a new stadium, the Emirates Stadium  in nearby Ashburton Grove, which opened in July 2006. Arsenal's offices were moved to a new building, Highbury House, which was named in commemoration of the former stadium.

More Then Just An Arsenal Stadium


If you thought that it was just an Arsenal home ground,then you are wrong.


As well as being home to Arsenal, Highbury occasionally functioned as a home stadium for England matches; 12 internationals were played at Highbury from 1920 to 1961, most of them being friendlies. These included both England's first full home international against opposition outside of Great Britain  and Ireland (Belgium  in 1923), and the "Battle of Highbury ", England's 3–2 win over World Champions  Italy  in 1934, where seven Arsenal players started the match. Highbury was also used as a football venue for two matches in the 1948 London Olympics—a first-round match and a quarter-final—although it did not host any games in the 1966 FIFA World Cup  or Euro 96 , both of which were held in England; by the time of the latter, the pitch had been ruled too small for international football.

Highbury was the venue for twelve FA Cup semi-finals as a neutral ground, the first in 1929 and the last in 1997, although between 1984 and 1992 it was off the FA's list of approved venues, after Arsenal's refusal to install perimeter fencing following a pitch invasion  by Everton  fans during their semi-final against Southampton . It also hosted the London XI 's home leg against Lausanne Sports  in the 1955-58  Inter-Cities Fairs Cup  semi-finals; London won 2-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate. Clapton Orient  also played a single home game at Highbury in 1930 while their own ground, Lea Bridge Road , underwent development work to meet League standards.


Highbury has also hosted several cricket and baseball matches, and it was the venue for the 1966 World Heavyweight boxing title bout betweenHenry Cooper  and Muhammad Ali , which Ali won. It has featured on the silver screen as well, having been the backdrop to at least two movies:The Arsenal Stadium Mystery , and Fever Pitch .

Arsenal Not Always Played Highbury


Arsenal did not always play their home matches at Highbury in the 93 years they were based there. During the Second World War  the stadium was used as an ARP  station and was bombed ; Arsenal played their matches at White Hart Lane , home of North London rivals  Tottenham Hotspur , until Highbury re-opened in 1946. More recently, Arsenal's home UEFA Champions League  matches in the 1998–99  and 1999–00 seasons were played at Wembley Stadium , as Highbury's already limited capacity had to be reduced to accommodate advertising hoardings . Arsenal's record at Wembley (P6 W2 D1 L3) was relatively poor, and after two seasons the club switched back to playing at Highbury, not least because since Wembley closed for rebuilding in October 2000, it would not have been able to host their 2000–01  campaign.

Dateline Of Highbury




Dial Square are formed



A hat-trick of trophies



Arsenal move to Highbury



Herbert Chapman takes charge at Arsenal



Arsenal complete a hat-trick of Championship titles



Arsenal win the League and F.A.Cup Double



Arsenal beat local rivals Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 at White Hart Lane



Former Arsenal player George Graham takes the helm



Arsenal needed to win by 2 clear goals against Liverpool at Anfield to win the championship ... Arsenal won 2-0, with goals from Alan Smith and 'It's up for grabs now'... Michael Thomas. Taking the title back to Highbury.



Just two years on, Champions once more



F.A. and League Cup Double Winners



In steps Arsene Wenger



Arsenal legend Ian Wright scores 187 goals for Arsenal, surpassing Cliff Bastin's long standing record



League and F.A. Cup Double winners once more



Arsenal clinch the double at Old Trafford



Arsenal go the entire season without losing a Premiership game. Winning the league title at White Hart Lane. The team, later dubbed 'The Invincibles'



Farewell to Highbury ... 93 years, a hat full of great achievements and memories. Going out in style with a 4-2 win over Wigan and a hat-trick for Arsenal legend Thierry Henry



24th September - Highbury Square is completed and is officially opened.



Note:The reason behind this article was to share the memories of highbury with all the Gooners.Stats from Wikipedia.