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.’