Arsenal Stadium

Arsenal Stadium was a football stadium in Highbury, North London, which was the home ground of Arsenal Football Club between 6 September 1913 and 7 May 2006. It was mainly known as Highbury due to its location and was given the affectionate nickname of "The Home of Football" by the club.[1] It was originally built in 1913 on the site of a local college's recreation ground and was significantly redeveloped twice. The first came in the 1930s, from which the Art Deco East and West Stands date; the second in the late 1980s and early 1990s following the Taylor Report, during which the terraces at both ends of the pitch were removed, making it all-seater with four stands. The resulting reduction in capacity and matchday revenue eventually led to Arsenal opting to build the Emirates Stadium nearby, to which they moved in 2006. Recently, Highbury has undergone redevelopment to turn it into a block of flats, with most of the stadium being demolished; parts of the East and West Stands remained to be incorporated into the new development due to their listed status. The stadium also hosted international matches Ц both for England and in the 1948 Summer Olympics Ц and FA Cup semi-finals, as well as boxing, baseball and cricket matches.[4] Its presence also led to the local London Underground station being renamed to Arsenal in 1932, making it the only station on the Underground network to be named after a football club. In addition to its architecture, the stadium was known for its small but immaculate pitch[5] and for the famous clock which was positioned in the southern side of the ground since its introduction in 1930. The original stadium was built in 1913, when Woolwich Arsenal moved from the Manor Ground in Plumstead, South East London to Highbury, leasing the recreation fields of St John's College of Divinity for ?20,000.[7] The lease negotiation also agreed that no matches were to be played on "holy days" and that no

intoxicating liquor" would be sold at the stadium, these stipulations were dropped within a year.[8] 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.[7] It opened whilst not fully complete, with Arsenal's first match of the 1913Ц14 season, a 2Ц1 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.[9] Highbury hosted its first England match in 1920. The Australian rugby league team suffered the first loss of their 1921Ц22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain at Highbury to an English side 4 points to 5 before approximately 12,000 spectators.[10] Arsenal bought the stadium site outright in 1925, for ?64,000.[7] No significant portion of Leitch's original stadium remains today following a series of bold redevelopments during the 1930s. The idea was to create a ground for London that could capture the grandeur of England's finest club stadium, Villa Park, home of The Aston Villa Football Club. The Highbury project was ambitious in its scale and reach, the first stand completed being the West Stand, designed by Claude Waterlow Ferrier and William Binnie in the Art Deco style which opened in 1932.[7] On 5 November the same year 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.[11] 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.