In this landmark week, how do Highbury and the Emirates compare?

Emirates Vs Highbury by Dan Smith


So we have now played more Premiership fixtures at the Emirates then we did at Highbury!

If the Emirates Stadium had feelings, you would probably feel sorry for him or her. In isolation it’s a beautiful piece of architecture where every seat has a decent view.

Non-gooners probably think we are a little bit spoilt. It’s like having a stunning beautiful girl on your arm but letting her know that she will never compare to your ex …. Highbury. It’s not like in your relationship where you haven’t had fun times, but both parties know you’re not over your ex and never will be.

The Emirates has never done anything wrong but it’s what she represents. She reflects the modern Arsenal; a very well-run business but where money and greed has been prioritised over sporting success.

It’s starting to build a legacy; it’s contributed to 4 out of the 14 FA Cups in our history but until we have the equivalent of  an ‘Adams would you believe it moment’, home will always be those flats around the corner.

Both are mocked by rival fans for their lack of atmosphere but there was something special about Highbury under the floodlights, the pitch always in amazing condition.


Highbury of course hosted every other weekend the most successful period in our history.

So it might surprise many to learn we have in fact won 7 more games at our current address – 178-171

That again should remind you the decline we were in before Arsene moved to England and that he did a little bit more than just inherit a world class back 4, like some will have you believe.

We lost the same amount at both which I guess is consistent at least -35.

Highbury saw 66 draws in the Premiership, it’s 60 at the Emirates.


Highbury’s biggest ever Premier League win was 7-0 drubbings handed out to Everton and Middlesbrough. We nearly equalled that at the Emirates, beating Blackburn 7-1.


3-0 was our heaviest defeat in the Premiership era at Highbury, that happened twice thanks to Coventry and Middlesbrough.

Our biggest loss in the League at the Emirates is 4-1 by Chelsea.

Liverpool got the most wins at Highbury with 5.

Chelsea have the most wins at the Emirates also with 5.

Only 8 clubs though have won at both grounds – Spurs, Newcastle, Man United, Chelsea, Villa, West Ham, Liverpool and Palace.


The biggest stat of course is the one we were promised would have happened by now, that we would be competing with the likes of Bayern Munich. That was the promise we were made when leaving Highbury. We were told to sacrifice a few years of paying off the debt and financially we could compete with the best in Europe.

The cruel irony is the year Bayern were crowned Champions of Europe, we were finishing in our worst position in 25 years, which we are on course to beat in this campaign.

In truth we are further away from winning the title at any stage since our move.

It’s too simple though to say we would have been better off at Highbury. We will never know for sure but maybe at the time the board really did think the switch would lead to greater things.

They had a fanbase where it warranted a bigger venue and if nothing else it’s given more access to go watch your team.

What was never functioned into our action plan was the takeovers at Chelsea, then Man City.

The timing couldn’t have been worse, as we were selling assets every year to fund loan repayments, a whole country was bankrolling Man City. We put too much faith in UEFA’s promise of Financial Fair play.

Yet equally, sitting in a 38,000 stadium wouldn’t have helped us survive the changes at Stamford Bridge and the Etihad


It felt like yesterday we left Highbury. The fact we have now played more Premiership games at the Emirates makes me feel old but also shows you how time flies


The Emirates is our home… But like a certain French striker once said, Highbury will always be ‘our garden.’

Dan Smith

Tags Emirates Highbury


  1. No doubt the Emirates is a wonderful stadium, where I love to be.

    However there’s a “but” coming here.

    Highbury holds a special place in my heart, so many fantastic memories (not all good, but somehow “special”).

    North Bank corner flag, Avenell road entrance, mid way up the terracing above the “half time numbers board” – bliss !

    So for me ……….. no comparison.

  2. A really nice piece, Dan, thank you.
    More games at the Emirates, wow, time really does fly! And it’s not like we’re even having fun is it?!!
    Always look back fondly at Highbury, loved the place. And Arsene wasn’t wrong when he said we left our soul there….

  3. “We have now played more Premiership fixtures at the Emirates than we did at Highbury!” – this is literally true, but only because the First Division was rebranded the “Premiership” in 1992. To me that distinction is meaningless.

  4. Great nostalgia Dan, accompanied with facts and figures that are really interesting.

    I do believe that the move was necessary, but how I miss the intimacy, the closeness, the belonging that came with every match day.

    I would have loved the design of the Emirates to have seen the fans closer to the pitch and a “kop like” area for the most vocal fans to be.

    I never bothered when Highbury was nicknamed the library, as it was rich in the club’s history.
    Despite the Emirates being able to show our said history (both inside and out), it is our Highbury history, apart from the fa cup successes.
    Having the same seat (mostly) from the beginning, with the same fans (again mostly) and a great bunch of fans they are as well, it still doesn’t feel like home.

    Perhaps those of us who were lucky enough to have experienced Highbury, really did leave some of our footballing souls back in the hallowed ground?

  5. Mine is still there Ken in the bottom left- hand corner of the East Stand. I always remember a family of 4 who lived in Edgeware who always brought an extra sandwich and tea for me and later became good friends. One of my greatest Highbury memories is Wrighty beating Cilff Bastin’s scoring record and getting it wrong first time!😄

  6. Andrew, wouldn’t it be a great idea if AdminPat asked those who experienced the Highbury magic, to send in their two most memorable memories /experiences and produced an article, or even a book?

    If only one could travel back in time and relive such memories, rather than taking them all for granted?

      1. How do we go about it Pat?
        Send our memories direct to you, or an article that we add to?
        I’m happy to help in any way.

        1. I think perhaps we could post one article, say called Arsenal memories plus title .. then at the end invite readers to submit their own…

  7. Like others say, the Emirates is a wonderful stadium but Highbury holds so many memories. The marching band at half time with the chap throwing the baton in the air for one and the Fairs Cup win in 1970 , can still see Raddys header going in and the excitement around the stadium.

  8. It was the clock end for me with my parents in the late 60’s to begin with followed by the lower west stand for my eldest son’s first visit somewhere around the early 90’s and a visit from Millwall.
    I also bunked off school with a friend to see an afternoon midweek game. Very unusual and I’m wondering if it had anything to do with the power cuts etc at the time.
    I loved the grass – lush and green and nothing like the sandpit penalty boxes of other clubs
    Highbury was classy and iconic.
    The Emirates is a fantastic stadium but the closeness of the fans to the pitch gave it that intimate feeling at Highbury

    1. SueP, it’s your list sentence that is so telling and why I feel the spuds designed that area of their toilet bowl so much better – their fans are in their faces, whether the team is playing good or bad!!!

  9. Ken & Admin Pat, I agree it will be great to hear about other fans’ memories, good or bad. Funnily, my old brain seems to have deleted all the bad ones!

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