There’s one more place I’d like to blog about from my time in London.
I’m pretty sure you would know which place. You don’t think I would miss this one out, did you?
The Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club!
Arsenal is THE only football club in north London, nay, even the whole of London by itself. You want evidence of why I make that bold claim? There is even an Underground station named Arsenal. Arsenal is so big it warrants a train station named Arsenal. You won’t see Totscum train station or Chelsea train station no matter how hard you find.
Here, the stadium…
When it opened, the Emirates Stadium was the most modern football stadium in England. It still is, actually. Everything in here are all state of the art. And it doubled up Arsenal’s matchday capacity from 32000 to well over 60000. More spectators = more money. Of course, they have been hampered by the massive debt incurred for building this stadium, but it is a necessary long term solution.
It was a shame that I was unable to catch a live football match here. We had to make do with getting a stadium tour. I tell you, if you are a neutral, the best value for money if you want a football stadium tour is this one. Like I mentioned above, this is the newest stadium with the best infrastructure.
Anyway, let’s continue with photos. Lots of photos.
First up, we were brought to the pitch. The football field. This is probably the most important part of any stadium tours, so it comes first. This is where you get to feel like a professional footballer for some minutes.
Then we were brought to the dressing room. This is where the players spend their time before a match, at the half time break, and after a match is over.
Seriously, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas used to sit in the exact same dressing room. Of course, also a host of money grabbing wankers like Ashley Cole, Samir Nasri and Robin ‘little boy’ van Persie. I was worried with how Arsenal was going at that time, when we went through a period where we sold all our superstars and replaced with lesser players. Thankfully, we were only warming the chairs for the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez of today.
And then we were brought to a press conference room. Usually, this is the place where they announce the signing of a new player. But we went there for a different purpose. It was two kid’s birthday that day, so they decided it was a good idea to throw the birthday kids a nice surprise by making them the center of everyone’s attention.
I guess I should explain to the laymen, the Emirates Stadium has not always been Arsenal’s home stadium. They only completed construction and started using this stadium in 2006. Which means it was barely 1 year old when I visited. Just a couple streets across sits Highbury, Arsenal’s original stadium since 1913. At that time, some fans were understandably unsettled and upset with the stadium change, so a little bit of Highbury was brought over.
In fact, even when this stadium was under construction, they already placed a time capsule here, with lots of stuff from Highbury put inside. This would remind people of our heritage and legacy.
Last but not least, the trophy room. Arsenal may not have won any meaningful titles since 2005, but they ARE a football powerhouse in England. They DO have lots of trophies.
I loved this stadium tour. I love this stadium. It was the happiest day of my life…