Thursday, 12 September 2013

Arsenal FC

Thursday 12th September 2013 Kick Off 19:00 hours

Arsenal U21 1 v WBA U21 0
Emirates Stadium
75 Drayton Park
N5 1BU

Admission : £4
Attendance : 2,561
Customer Service : Quite good actually.
Game Number : 37 New Ground Number: 31
Weather : Fine

For this one readers we went deep behind enemy lines for a visit to the Emirates stadium the world famous home of Woolwich Wanderers. I could have waxed lyrical about the cups and the glory years, but instead I've provided you with a report regarding some of the club's "less savoury" and I expose their South London roots.

The Bad Boys of Arsenal

Peter Storey
Peter Storey's  life took a turn for the worse in 1979 when he was fined for running a brothel, then followed a succession of spells in prison for, various offences namely - counterfeiting gold coins, importing pornographic movies and car theft. Apart from that little lot, he was a nice chap and a half decent player.

Addicted.jpgTony Adams
Football’s most well-known drink-driver was jailed for three months in 1990. Already Arsenal club captain at the time, Adams was sent to Chelmsford Open Prison after crashing his car into a wall while four times over the legal limit.

Jermaine Pennant

Pennant was jailed for three months after crashing his Mercedes into a lamppost in Aylesbury, Bucks, in 2005 while on loan at Birmingham City. He allegedly got lost on a drunken journey from Bristol to London. Hilariously, he gave his name as Ashley Cole when he was caught. Pennant returned to Birmingham on his release from prison and played with an electronic tag for a while.

The Others
A more astute legal process might have asked questions about the Arsenal youth system which helped develop a number of talents. Firstly, there was the "unofficial" Gatwick Airport Baggage Handler David Hillier, the magistrate decided not to delve too closely and simply fined him £750 for "lifting" the luggage of a Swedish businessman.  Let's not forget Ray "Pizza" Parlour, who got into trouble in Hong Kong after a Dennis Wise-style altercation with a taxi driver. There is also Paul Merson, whose all-round personal problems led to a complete melt down and Kevin Dennis, who never made it into the first team, not so much because he wasn't talented but because in September 1993 he was sentenced to 30 months for manslaughter.At Dennis's initial hearing, the north London club, showing admirable loyalty to an employee, asked the magistrate if the case could be brought forward as they had a car waiting outside to take the player to a reserve match.

This "motely" bunch of individuals could only be managed by one man - George Graham. The 1994 Cup Winners' Cup proved to be his last trophy at the club; the following February poor George was sacked after nearly nine years in charge, after it was discovered he had accepted an illegal payment of £425,000 from Norwegian agent Rune Hauge following Arsenal's 1992 acquisition of John Jensen and Pål Lydersen, two of Hauge's clients. Graham was eventually banned for a year by the Football Association for his involvement in the scandal, after he admitted he had received an "unsolicited gift" from Hauge.

The Old Ground - Highbury 

Highbury was the home ground of Arsenal Football Club between 6 September 1913 and 7 May 2006.

It was originally built in 1913 on the site of a local college's recreation ground and has been 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 (aka Clock End and North Bank) of the pitch were removed, making it all-seater with four stands. The resulting reduction in capacity and match day 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 along with the pitch to be incorporated into the new development due to their listed status.

Bubbles still present in the revamped Highbury . 

The million pound flats to serve the local residents? It's amazing how good the pitch looks, considering the bunch of cart houses which use to run on it every other week.

The "East Stand" Concierge 

Streets Surrounding Highbury

From the pictures below it is clear the surrounding area has not been re developed - which is a shame. No new social housing for the local community and Highbury Hill looks the same as it ever did -the scene of many a fracas in years gone by.

The New Ground - Emirates Stadium   

The Emirates, is a football stadium located in Islington, at a capacity of 60,361, the Emirates is the third-largest football stadium in England after Wembley and Old Trafford and fourth-largest in the United Kingdom.
In 1997, Arsenal started exploring the possibility of relocating to a new stadium, having been denied planning permission by Islington Council to expand its then home ground of Highbury. After considering various options, the club settled on purchasing an industrial and waste disposal estate in Ashburton Grove and submitted their planning brief to the public in 2000. In spite of opposition to the move by local residents and club shareholders, Arsenal succeeded in winning the council's approval to build a new stadium here. Estate relocation work began in August 2002 and commenced four months later. Financing for the stadium proved difficult, resulting in the club delaying work until February 2004. Emirates Airline was later announced as the main sponsor for the stadium in October 2004 and work reached completion in July 2006 at a cost of £390 million.

The ground has frequently hosted music concerts and several friendly international football fixtures featuring the Brazilian national team.(See my blog - for further information)

Looks like Tony has hit the bar again!
Here is Kenny sprinting to the park bench. 
Plastic Cannons - evidence of their South London roots at Woolwich Arsenal.
No need for that - how small minded.
The Emirates at night - does n't look any better does it ?   
View - from Holloway Road.

On my travels I also bumped into Herbert Chapman (see pic below right).  In 1925, Arsenal successfully tempted Herbert to join them, and he brought the previously trophy less club an FA Cup and two First Division titles. He set them up to be the dominant team of the 1930s – they would eventually win five League titles that decade – but he did not live to see them do so, dying suddenly from pneumonia in 1934, at the age of 55.

Not only credited with turning round the fortunes of both Huddersfield Town and Arsenal, he is also regarded as one of the game's first modernisers. He introduced new tactics and training techniques into the English game, as well as championing innovations such as floodlighting, European club competitions and numbered shirts.

Before the make over and.....  

after, a great improvement readers?

There's only one Mrs Parlour.

The Game

Probably the most exciting incident at the library that night.

Famous Fan

One "Rotten" Gooner

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