Jump to content
  • 2005-2006

    highbury.thumb.jpg.07e18d1fb4bcbec707158b4c1918fb82.jpg 

    We won trophies at this stadium

    The end of Highbury.

    Highbury was a great ground. I loved it and I cannot say I get the same buzz from the Emirates. To go on to the terrace and mingle with the real fans, listen to the banter, get shoved around whenever something exciting happened, sometimes struggling to see what happened when being shoved, all added to the fizz in my belly as I watched my team becoming close to being a great one in the late 80’s under George Graham. We were finally able to go toe to toe with the giants of English football, Liverpool and I was able to go to Highbury to watch them climb that mountain.

    People accused it of being the Highbury Library but it never seemed that way to me, there was always a noise, lots of singing, and sometimes some very witty comments. And, something that might surprise people who only watch on tv is the negativity of a lot of the crowd. Cries similar to “The team is fucking useless and always have been”, “the manager is an idiot” and many others came out of the lips of fans regularly from the terrace. That has died out dramatically since we changed over to the stands. There is still a little banter now but nowhere near the same. Football is worse for that, although I have to say I do like being able to sit and have a bit of comfort watching Arsenal, I miss the connectness of the terraces.

    emirates-stadium-arsenal-view-night_3233163.thumb.jpg.161a18560a1958ec38c4da826ba7518d.jpg

    But not at this one

    And I miss Highbury.

    The financial argument was inescapable. Roman Abramovich had altered the landscape of football as he transformed Chelsea into a contender for the best team in Europe. A seemingly bottomless supply of money and an aggressive attitude towards managers not achieving it meant that even Mourinho got sacked after toppling the 2 giants of English football, Manchester United and Arsenal, both with far greater resources at the time in terms of fans worldwide and ability to coin money from that fanbase.

    The big teams of Europe, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, the Italian giants, and several within England had much bigger grounds. And so the plan that had started several years before had come to fruition and Arsenal would spend their last year at the hallowed and exquisite turf of Highbury. Arsene Wenger and David Dein, along with the board, set it all in place. A new ground, close beside Highbury so fans are not discommoded, with around 60,000 fans, a huge increase on what was there before, and a far greater amount of corporate boxes to cater for the sexy image football had garnered for itself. Arsenal needed that money to be able to take on the big boys.

    The banks insisted on Arsene Wenger

    wenger.thumb.jpg.e54a659286a484df544f514c7c73fb35.jpg

    The banks got that call right

    Perhaps not so well known is that the banks insisted that Arsene Wenger had to remain at the helm to guarantee the loans.This was certainly prescient as, although attendances have not been hit too badly since Wenger moved on, they have certainly taken a hit now that we are no longer challenging for honours.

    The shiny new stadium did come at a price on the pitch though. Although lots of new players came that year, none had the impact of Bergkamp (believed to have been a Wenger choice), Vieira, Henry, Petit, Overmars, Campbell, Pires, Llungberg and others that became legends. Adebayer, Walcott, Diaby, Song, and Hleb did come on board and made various types of impressions but none are contenders for greatest player in their position for Arsenal as those previous players I mentioned are. It looked like Wenger could get us good but not great players now.

    Our greatest midfielder gone

    Patrick_Vieira_7224154x3.thumb.jpg.9071072bb3302238c1b7a3c4e1546ffe.jpg

    This guy frightened players

    And so we lost one of our greatest this season. Patrick Vieira finally left for Juventus after grumbling for a few seasons about a move.  Cesc Fabregas came through from the academy finally as first choice but he was no like for like replacement. He did not have the aggression or the physique of Vieira but he did bring a superb skillset to the team so that Vieira’s loss was not so keenly felt.

    Cesc_Fabregas.thumb.jpg.a40b234ca05608c0fc2ffa75e1a8c191.jpg

    Fabregas almost bridged the gap

    Lots of teams sent us home crying

    Still, on the pitch, we weren’t so good, 11 defeats in the league meant we finished a distant fourth to Chelsea. We fielded understrength teams in the FA cup and the League cup because Wenger concentrated all efforts on winning the Champions league which meant we went out to Bolton in the 4th round of the FA cup and Wigan in the semi-final of the League cup. We played lower teams in the league cup and got away with it until the semi’s where Wigan drew 2-2 over 2 legs but went through on the away goals rule as they scored a goal at Highbury in extra time of the second leg.

    We were beaten at Highbury by Chelsea and West Ham in the league, our only 2 defeats there that season although Wigan got a sort of a victory in the League cup. Highbury was always a difficult place to come to and the Emirates has never quite managed to achieve that.

    At least I got to feel it throughout my whole body

    And so we got our send off. Every match had a theme like players day, European night, 49-er’s day, Wenger day etc. and there was a party type atmosphere all season. Highbury was no more and I could never recreate my days of younger as we moved into our new giant stadium with its dizzying heights. Impressive, yes, and lots of interesting parts around it but without that buzz which so many of you will never experience. I am so glad that I got to feel it all through my body as I looked around at all the fans, strangers yet family, buzzing and fizzing and erupting as the goals went in.

    Next week I will talk about our Champions league campaign that season. It will be the final, for now, of this series My life as a gooner.  The 49 has significanceThe Champions league is the title I have always wanted and we came so close.

     

    List of themed matchdays at Highbury

    Matchday

    Date

    Players Day

    14 August 2005

    Goal Celebrations Day

    24 August 2005

    European Night

    14 September 2005

    2 November 2005

    Doubles Day

    19 September 2005

    Internationals Day

    2 October 2005

    Wenger Day

    22 October 2005

    Memorial Day

    5 November 2005

    49-ers Day

    26 November 2005

    League Cup Night

    29 November 2005

    24 January 2006

    Boxers v Jockeys Day

    7 December 2005

    Great Saves Day

    18 December 2005

    Hat-trick Heroes Day

    28 December 2005

    Back Four Day

    3 January 2006

    FA Cup Day

    7 January 2006

    1913 Day

    14 January 2006

    London Derbies Day

    1 February 2006

    Home Grown Players Day

    11 February 2006

    Managers Day

    8 March 2006

    Captains Day

    12 March 2006

    Junior Gunners Day

    18 March 2006

    Decades Day

    28 March 2006

    David Rocastle Day

    1 April 2006

    Dennis Bergkamp Day

    15 April 2006

    Records Day

    19 April 2006

    Kits Day

    22 April 2006

    Goals Day

    7 May 2006

     


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.



    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Следваща среща

  • Класиране

  • Latest Forum Posts

×
×
  • Create New...