What are your happiest memories of Highbury?

Arsene Wenger was reminiscing over his time at Arsenal this week, and has made it clear that the move from Highbury took some key special features away from the atmosphere.

The Frenchman will go down in history as the Invincibles manager, but he was so much more to Arsenal fans, and he was key in paving the way for our new stadium to be built.

Wenger’s success helped to steer us into the future of what football clubs were to be, but it is the older elements which he misses most.

“Through all my career, when you arrived to drive down to Highbury, that was always a special moment,” Wenger reminisced.

“Highbury is linked with love, love for the period I had there, love for the exceptional attitude of the fans, the special football games I witnessed there, it’s a special place in my heart. There was 40 people there, now there’s more like 400, you knew everyone.

“We have moved from a business family to a big company now and, of course, Highbury was linked with the business family. The supporters were very close, when you kicked a corner you can shake the hands of a supporter, and it gave a togetherness, a warm feeling that was unique.

“You’re always in a position with a football club where you ask whether to move forward or to stay in the past, we had to go through a period where we moved stadiums.

“The rules were changed, we wanted to create a stadium with the same feeling of Highbury but we left our soul because we could never replicate that.

“The distance from the pitch to the stands had to be bigger for ambulances to come in, all that kind of thing, so we didn’t find exactly the same atmosphere.”

The Emirates is no doubt an amazing stadium, and definitely ranks as the stand-out stadium I have set foot in, but it is no secret that it does lack the atmosphere that we once had.

Football has changed since we left Highbury, with mega-rich owners at a number of clubs across Europe, and while the need for the Emirates is clear, you can’t help but miss the feelings that were associated with our former home.

What are your happiest memories of Highbury?

Patrick

Tags Arsene Wenger Highbury

11 Comments

  1. Sue says:

    My first time! Bought tickets via an ad in the paper (Cheers Matty) – Arsenal v Coventry 1999..
    I never thought I’d get to Highbury, so walking out of the tube and catching that first glimpse of the stadium was jaw-dropping….I couldn’t believe I was seeing everything that I’d seen on the tv in the flesh!! Our seats didn’t disappoint, front row, right corner, clock end. Arsene was right, you could shake the hand of whoever took the corner! I was very excited as Petit took corners (& he was my first Arsenal love), wrong corner though (damn).. Overmars took our corner!! We won 2-0 (Parlour, Overmars)… had a fantastic day, my face ached from smiling so much… and I still have the tickets today….

  2. SueP says:

    I’d start with going with my parents in the mid 60’s and standing at the clock end. A highlight was seeing George Best
    and Bobby Charlton play

    When I was at senior school, Arsenal played on a weekday afternoon and my friend Sue Mott and I bunked off to go to the game. I’m hazy on the reason for a Wednesday match. I think it was against Forest

    But taking my son to his first game was my happiest. I booked seats in the lower west stand and it was a sunny Saturday against Millwall. The intimacy of the ground created the feeling that we were all part of one fantastic family and when Tony Adams lead the team onto the pitch to the deafening roar of the crowd, I shall never forget his little face. He was in absolute awe.

    In later years I knew someone who drove Annie Wenger on match days. If she couldn’t make it this friend could bring a friend instead. My turn came and it was first class all the way. Never In my life did I ever think I would be a guest in the boardroom or take my seat in the directors box. The game was against Middlesbrough. We won but the hardest thing was not being able to cheer or stand up and go potty when a goal went in. I had to be on my best behaviour

    1. Declan says:

      SueP I think the Wednesday afternoon match was because of the power cuts (3 day week/strikes?) so no flood lights and early pm kick off. I think it was against Derby. Perhaps Jon or Ken or someone else can confirm.

      1. SueP says:

        Thanks Declan. That rings a bell …as does the lights at home going off and a candle or two being lit to do my homework by!

      2. Phil says:

        It was Derby

  3. Roachie says:

    My Dad used to take me regularly in the early 70s. We’d drive there, park outside the stadium and eat our sandwiches. Then we’d pay at the turnstile. I remember one match in particular, Newcastle went 2 up in the first half. We went to the bar at half time and my Dad wanted one more even though the bell had rung for the second half. We came out 10mins later and the score was 2-2. Missed both goals! I also remember the first time I saw Liam Brady, he was incredible.

    1. SueP says:

      Liam Brady was just amazing which reminds me that I watched the 1979 FACup final on Itv last night. What a cracker that was and Alan Sunderland scoring at the end to make it 3-2.
      Arsenal was made up of 4 English men,(Rix, Talbot, Sunderland & Price 1 Scot(Willy Young) and the others from NI and Eire. How things have changed!

  4. Geoff says:

    My 1st 2 games I saw 18 goals a 5-4 defeat to Villa & a 5-4 win against Wolves Billy Wright’s team Joe Baker,George Eastham great players.

  5. Marty says:

    I remember standing in front of the West Stand..highlight must be 2nd leg against Anderlect and the marching band at half time and everybody cheering when the guy through the baton in the air, only saw him drop it once.

  6. ken1945 says:

    For me it has to be the Invincible season – we were magnificent, the top dogs, incredible football, world class players, wonderful fans all supporting the team and thinking it would go on forever – plus watching the North Bank Upper tier bouncing up and down as the fans above us celebrated, while I wondered if the whole thing was going to fall down on top of us cheering just as loudly below!!!

  7. Kenny Rolfe says:

    The happiest times was when I first went as a kid in the late 50’s, the excitement was overwhelming. I used to walk with my Dad from Riversdale Rd where he would park the car and when we crossed Blackstock Rd into Conewood St and I got a sight of the East Stand the buzz would be unbearable, all I wanted to do is get into the ground. By the time Joe Baker, my idol as a youngster, and George Eastham arrived I was 12 and going with my mates.. Anderlrcht night was probably the noisiest night ever at Highbury. George Graham’s era was fantastic but Arsene wenger’s first 10 years with our greatest ever player Dennis Bergkamp and our greatest ever striker Thierry Henry was my swan song, rounding off with an Invincible season. I feel privileged to have been an Arsenal supporter for 62 years.

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