The Emirates Stadium is located in Holloway, London and is the home to Arsenal Football Club. It has a capacity of over 60,000 and is the third largest football stadium in England after Wembley and Old Trafford in Manchester.
Arguably one of the most iconic stadiums in English football, the Emirates Stadium was opened in 2006, after Arsenal moved from their old Highbury stadium. The Emirates Stadium cost around £400 million to build. The stadium was constructed in response to the Hillsborough disaster and the Taylor report, regarding all English stadia to be all-seaters.
Before the idea to move to a new stadium, Arsenal’s initial proposal was rebuild their old ground Highbury. This was met with disapproval from local residents, as it required the demolition of 25 neighbouring houses. It soon became even more problematic once the “East Stand” of the stadium was granted Grade II listing, meaning they couldn’t re-develop it, or demolish it. Thus, it was decided they needed to build a brand new stadium to meet modern expectations and to enable more supporters to see the team in action.
The Emirates Stadium was officially opened by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on 26 October 2006. It had originally been intended that Queen Elizabeth II would open the stadium, but she suffered an injury and was unable to attend on the day.
The Emirates Stadium is seen by many as the “benchmark” for top league stadia developments in Europe. The Emirates Stadium is a three-tiered “bowl” with translucent roofing over the stands but not over the pitch. The general idea is that the stadium was to focus on spectator experience, for both the general fan and the Corporate or Premium Hospitality spectators. This marked a major change, as Arsenal realised the corporate and premium supporters could bring massive revenues into the club.
Emirates Stadium Layout
The structure of the stadium is quite unique, the upper (who houses 26,646 seats) and lower (24,425 seats) parts of the stadium feature standard seating. The main middle tier, known as the “Club Level”, is premium priced and also includes the director’s boxes.
The stadium also has two levels below ground, that house its support facilities such as commercial kitchens, changing rooms and press and education centres. The main club shop, named “The Armoury”, and ticket offices are located near the West Stand, with other an additional store at the base of the North Bank Bridge, named ‘All Arsenal’ and the ‘Arsenal Store’ next to Finsbury Park station
Away fans at the Emirates Stadium are housed in the lower tier of the South East corner. The normal allocation for away fans is just under 3,000 tickets, but this can be increased for cup games. Entrance to the stadium is by a ‘smart ticket’, this basically means you enter it into a ticket reader to gain entry, pretty simple if truth be told.
From our experience we loved the fact the seats were big and padded, another plus point was there is plenty of leg room. This certainly felt like a true modern experience at the highest level. The only real “criticism” we could say, was the lower section is swallow compared to the upper section of the ground. This can mean the view can sometimes be restricted if away fans stand throughout the game.
The concourse inside is surprisingly not that spacious for a new stadium, its about average. On a plus side, there’s quite a choice of food on offer, although as you’re in London it is rather pricey.
If you don’t want to eat or drink inside of the stadium, then outside you should head to the “Drayton Park”, this is generally an away supporters pub. It’s located near to the Arsenal tube station and Drayton Park railway station. This pub overlooks the new stadium and is only a few minutes walk away. Please note, There are no cash machines inside Emirates Stadium. There is a Barclays Bank cash point situated on Drayton Park next to the Arsenal Box Office.
As well as use as a Football ground, the Emirates Stadium holds Music concerts too. When used as a music venue, the capacity can increase to around 72,000 as opposed to 60,432 the capacity for domestic football matches. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band became the first band to play a concert at the stadium on 30 May 2008. Since then worldwide artists such as Coldplay and Green Day have played at the stadium.
The Emirates Stadium is served by a number of London Underground stations and bus routes. The “Arsenal tube station” is the closest for the northern portion of the stadium, with “Highbury and Islington tube station” servicing the southern end. While “Holloway Road tube station” is the closest to the southern portion, it is entry-only before matches and exit-only afterwards to prevent overcrowding.
You can also take an overland train to “Finsbury Park Railway Station” from London Kings Cross. It is then about a 10 to 15 minute walk from Finsbury Park to the stadium itself.
If you’re travelling by car, then you should leave the M1 motorway at “Junction 2” and proceed onto the A1, following the signs for City (Central London). Keep going on the A1 for around six miles, until you see “Holloway Road Tube Station” on your right.
Take the next left at the traffic lights into “Hornsey Road” and the stadium is about a third of a mile further down this road. There is no real parking at the stadium itself or in nearby streets. A “residents only parking” scheme operates around the stadium on matchdays.
Generally speaking, it’s probably a good idea to park further out of London around a tube station and get the tube to the ground. You should also be aware that on a matchday a number of local roads around the perimeter of the Stadium are closed 2 hours before kick off. The roads remain closed throughout the match and do not reopen until around 45 minutes to 1 hour after the final whistle, however this can depend on activities outside the Stadium.
To find out more information about the Emirates Stadium and Arsenal Football Club, please Click Here to visit their official website.