First of all, in case you weren’t aware, the actual Highbury remains unchanged… well, not entirely, but wearing a new face. When the Gunners moved into the new stadium (Emirate), they converted the Stadium, which everyone dubbed Highbury to a block of flats.
However, a large portion of the original building’s construction still exists, notably the main East Stand, which is a protected site. What’s remained of the West Stand across the road is also now flats. The former North Bank and Clock End are no longer there. All of these flats are referred to as Highbury Square.
You can actually book a room at the former Highbury Stadium on AirBnB; there is at least one unit in Highbury Square.
For the benefit of the residents, the pitch was turned into a garden. You can pass by and consider everything to be a brief detour on your route to an Arsenal game.
What happened to Highbury Stadium?
The old Highbury was transformed into housing in 2010, with a development known as Highbury Square seeing over 700 houses built on the site.
Highbury Stadium was once Arsenal’s home fortress, a ground that has witnessed enough League brutalities and Champion League battles, until 2006 before the Gunners moved to their new home (Emirate stadium).
Now the famous Highbury stadium has been turned into something interesting.
The venue was the home of Arsenal for 93 years until 2006 when the club moved to Emirates Stadium. Arsenal moved to Highbury from Woolwich in 1913 and Highbury’s first stands were designed by Archibald Leitch. The main East and West stands were rebuilt in the 1930s in the Art Deco style.
The home ground was originally built in 1913, for recreation, and was redeveloped twice, the first construction was completed in the 1930s which feature the Art Deco East and the West stands, while the second phase got completed in 1989 adding executive boxes to the clock end, and in 1993 new North Bank stand was added.
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The Highbury Stadium has hosted lots of international and local matches, having hosted the famous 1948 Summer Olympics and semi-finals of the FA Cup
Gunners’ final game at Highbury Stadium was a Premier League match against Wigan Athletic on May 7, 2006. The team was in dire need of a good result to beat Tottenham in securing a Champions League ticket, been 2-1 behind, Arsenal captain and legend Thierry Henry’s hat-trick secured their qualification.
Henry knelt down to kiss the turf on scoring and as a sign of his last goal on Highbury ground
Arsenal decided to leave for a new home, constructing a new 60,000-seat stadium in Ashburton Grove. In October 2004, the new stadium was to be called the Emirate stadium as part of a deal with Emirates Airlines, the stadia was opened in July 2006
After Highbury Stadium closure, Arsenal held out an auction to sell out most parts of the stadium including the pitch, but luckily it was restructured and converted into more convenient flats as the project was called ” Highbury Square”.
Almost a total number of 711 properties were erected on the ground, and the famous Clock end and the North bank stand were destroyed and redeveloped into a garden.
Why did Arsenal decide to move to the Emirates Stadium?
The real objective for Arsenal’s move to the Emirates Stadium was financial incentives; the team wanted to increase ticket sales during a period of ongoing on-field success and satisfy the demand of a rising fan base.
Meanwhile, the facility hosts musical shows to generate additional revenue, where artists like Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay have played, and Brazil’s national team has also played a number of international friendly matches.
The financial advantages of switching to a cutting-edge stadium are obvious, but former manager Wenger bemoaned that the team “left their soul” at Highbury.
“I moved from Highbury, which was similar to Anfield, but there was a soul in the stadium,” the Frenchman told beIN Sports in 2020.
“We built a new stadium but we never found our soul – we left our soul at Highbury. We could never recreate it for security reasons.
“The distance from the pitch to the stand had to be bigger as we needed ambulances to come in. The inclination of the stands had to be smaller – all those things together meant that we weren’t able to recreate the atmosphere.”
What was Arsenal’s final game at Highbury?
Arsenal’s final match at Highbury was a Premier League match against Wigan Athletic on May 7, 2006.
The Gunners defeated the Baggies 4-2 thanks to a hat-trick from Thierry Henry, who also assisted Robert Pires’ first goal. Despite the Baggies’ best efforts, the team was able to end on a high note in style.
Furthermore, Arsene Wenger’s team beat Tottenham’s result against West Ham to secure fourth place and a spot in the Champions League (Spurs lost 2-1).
Pires gave Arsenal the lead, but Wigan responded with a goal from Paul Scharner and then gained an improbable advantage when David Thompson’s free kick fooled Jens Lehmann. Henry, though, went into full action to secure the victory and make the game an unforgettable one.
“For the history of the club and for this building here, to finish on a high I am very proud,” reflected Wenger afterwards.
“We would all have felt guilty to have walked out of here on a low after what has happened here for years. There was fantastic excitement, strength of character and quality as well.”
Ashley Cole joked that they would “handcuff Thierry to keep him” at the club in response to rumors of the French striker’s imminent exit, which was bittersweet moment for the Frenchman.
“That was the perfect send-off,” Henry said shortly after the game.
“When I kissed the ground after my third, I was saying farewell to this stadium,
Henry stayed at Arsenal for their inaugural campaign at the Emirates before joining Barcelona in 2007.
When did Arsenal move from Highbury?
After the 2005–06 campaign, Arsenal left Highbury, and on May 7, 2006, the stadium was finally closed down.
The club moved to the Emirates Stadium, a brand-new, purpose-built, cutting-edge 60,000-seat center, leaving behind what was a 38,000-capacity stadium.
What was Arsenal’s last Highbury game jersey?
In honor of their final match at Highbury, Arsenal donned their burgundy (or redcurrant) home uniform from the 2005–06 season. This uniform has since earned the name “Highbury Farewell.”
The Nike-made jersey had a burgundy and gold color palette, with white shorts and burgundy socks being the most popular combo.
The jersey had a big collar, and a gold “O2” sponsor logo and the Arsenal badge was positioned in the center of the chest rather than the left.
Pictures Credit: Dailymail
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