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The Magnificent Ashburton Grove 21 July, 2006

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Transfers.

Well yesterday the ‘Emirates Stadium’ opened its doors to a mass audience for Members Day. This was the first time gooners were allowed to see their new stadium and personally I was vey impressed. It’s an amazing stadium. It’s huge and every seat gets a good view of the pitch. The only flaws I could think of is that there’s a fair amount of exposed concrete still around but to be fair that can be touched up pretty quickly and also from the upper tier the sloping roof obstructs the view of one of the big screens and you have to turn around to see the one next to you. Apart from those two minor things it’s an incredible stadium and probably the best in England, Old Trafford might have a larger capacity but thats only because Americans usually use two or three seats at a time. Here are my pictures from the day:

(click to enlarge pics)
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The outside of the stadium is just a teaser of what’s to come inside, I love the huge crest and the curving glass walls but the two cannons are a bit strange outside the armoury shop. They’re not as crap as I thought they’d be but still, would be better just not to have them at all. The queue for the new shop was massive as you’d expect but they were offering free prining on the first 500 shirts sold and a free towel with every shirt.

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Then I went through the new card entry system which had no problems as far as I saw, people went through easily with a flash of the card. There were queues to the turnstiles though, I’m not sure what that was about, probably the amount of people wanting to go in at once and the bag checking. However the queues moved quite quickly. When I got into the seating area this was the amazing view which I was greeted by, it sent shivers all over me. I know it just looks like another picture you’ve seen on the computer before but this is it, it doesn’t look real when you stand in front of it, it just looks like a photo on the website. Truely amazing stuff.

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The pitch was immaculate like Highbury and looked like an excellant playing surface, also we have those new moving advertising boards now.

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I decided to make the most of the day and wonder around the stadium. I moved over to the halfway line point in the West Stand. Then the team came out for training and were welcomed to thier new home with a chorus of “Arrrrsenal, Arrrrsenal…” which was quite load considering the small amount of people inside and he sheer size of the place. I can’t wait till saturday when we’re in full voice. The players started to do laps of the field and I got bored and behind me was one of the parts where the stadium curves up to it’s highest point so I went to go have a look at that.

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After climbing to the highest point of the seating and out of breath I thought I’d take a picture of the way down. You can see right over london from up here really is amazing.

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The players still doing laps i decided to moved over to the top of the North Bank, quite incredible here to but personally I’d rather not sit this high, my sason ticket is 4th row so quite a comparision to up here.

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Then looking over the North-East corner wall you see Highbury over the rooftops, just in the same way I used to go out onto the West Stand balcony and look at Ashburton Grove. It’s a massive contrast from Highbury and I hope we can have many great memories here as we had there.

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Then I finally picked a seat as the players started to play mini-games. It was the same sort of squad as the Barnet game so no big names here apart from in the corner was Adebayor, Toure, Eboue and Rosicky doing some light training who had just come back from their summer break.

After the training session the players tried to kick balls up into the upper tiers which gave some players the opertunity to get embarrased. Cygan was at my corner and was quite funny watching him trying to boot the balls, and aparantly at the other side Song didn’t even get one ball up there. Well if he can’t play football and he cant do that, I really don’t know why we have him here. After this people started filtering down to the Lower Tiers for ‘fun and games’. There was a few inflatable footy games about and some other crap but I just used this opertunity to have a wonder around the stadium.

Then I took a walk round the outside of the stadium for the first time, it really is impressive, I hope you get the chance to go down there one day. I checked the shop again but the queue was double the size and was at least a 2 hour wait to get in, so I just went home. It was a really good day, I was impressed with the new stadium massivley and I’m looking forward to Saturday now, that should be amazing. They’ve announced the plans for the teams, the first half will be normal Arsenal v Ajax with current squad members but after the interval the Legends take the field with a few top names set to return: Wright, Vieira, Cruyff and Van Der Sar to name a few. I’ll talk about the match more tomorrow.

In Wenger’s interview afterwards he said he wants to add one or two players and it’s being done quietly and efficiantly. That really lifted my spirits, I wanted to know that Arsene had ambiton to sign someone and hopefully he’ll do it soon. It wont be Buffon though as he’s going to stay in Serie B with Juve. But we don’t really need a keeper though, its a defender we need, especially if Cole does fuck off. Kerrea Gilbert has gone to Cardiff on a season long so thats another defender out. I’m not going to bother speculating on who it might be because whenever I do I seem to jinx it and they don’t come.

It’s Bergkamp’s Testimonial tomorrow, I’m so exited. I’ll have a proper match preview in the morning before I go to the game. Have a good day.


1. ballzy - 21 July, 2006

great narration. It felt like i was ther myself. Some guys are complaining the inward curving design does obstract the big screen. did you notice that?

2. lasagnechef - 21 July, 2006

Yeah thats right however you can see at least on of the screens as theres two opposite each other. You just have to turn you neck around away from the game, its not too much of a problem. However if you’re sitting really high then you cant see either properly, depends where you sit really.

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