Ashburton Grove
(Emirates Stadium)
(Arsenal)

Address: Hornsey Road,
Highbury,
Greater London,
England,
N7 7AJ

Capacity: 60,704 (All-Seater)

Arsenal

A world class football stadium, but there are plenty who believe it will never be as good as the place that was once called home.

Better known to many by its sponsored name, the Emirates Stadium, Ashburton Grove has been home to Arsenal Football Club since opening, with its origins dating back to the 1990s.
Following major concerns around spectator safety at football grounds, the Taylor Report was published in early 1990. New rules made it compulsory for all clubs in the two highest tiers of English football to have all-seater stadiums in place by the summer of 1994. Arsenal at the time were based at their iconic Arsenal Stadium in Highbury and had been there since 1913.

Like many clubs at the time, Arsenal found it difficult raising the required funds to convert Highbury to an all-seater venue, but eventually managed to have all four sides of the stadium complete by August 1993. The renovations however had significantly reduced Highbury’s capacity and with the club wanting to attract an ever-growing fanbase and financially compete with the best in England, the search was made for land that a new stadium could be built on.

Arsenal examined a site in Ashburton Grove in November 1999 which was composed of a rubbish processing plant and industrial estate. A plan for a 60,000-seater stadium was submitted 12 months later which included a redevelopment to the surrounding area and converting Highbury to flats.
After a challenging period searching for funds, work officially began in February 2004, and 29 months later in July 2006, the first test events took place at Ashburton Grove. The first was a shareholder open day on the 18th, the second an open training session on the 20th, and the third Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial match against Dutch club Ajax on the 22nd.
The stadium’s official opening was conducted by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on 26th October 2006.

Location and Getting There

Ashburton Grove is located in Highbury, around three miles north of the Centre of London. Finsbury Park is roughly one mile to the north, Parliament Hill is roughly 2.2 miles away to the west, and Highbury Square, the flats that have been formed from the stands of Arsenal’s former home, is located roughly 0.2 mile northeast of the stadium.

As with all London-based football grounds, I would recommend against coming to Ashburton Grove by car.
The area surrounding the stadium has strict parking regulations in place on a matchday, with only resident permit holders allowed to park their cars near the stadium. You would likely have to head a good distance from the ground to find any legal parking.

Ashburton Grove is based very close to railway lines, and that makes public transport a very useful method for reaching the ground. Drayton Park is the closest railway station to the stadium but is closed on matchdays as rail services do not operate at this station on weekends or after 10pm.
Instead, fans are encouraged to make use of Finsbury Park Station to the north, served by Great Northern Rail, Thameslink, and the London Overground. The walk from here to Ashburton Grove is around 15 minutes.
Highbury and Islington Station, served by Great Northern Rail, the London Underground and the Victoria Underground Line, is a roughly 15 minute walk to the south of the stadium.
Alternatively, fans can make use of either Holloway Road to the southwest or Arsenal to the north, both of which are based on the Piccadilly Underground Line.
IMPORTANT NOTE: On matchdays, Holloway Road is entry-only before kick-off and exit-only after full-time to prevent overcrowding.

There are plenty of bus stations around Ashburton Grove’s vicinity, including stops on Nag’s Head, Holloway Road, Blackstock Road, Highbury Corner and Seven Sisters Road.
Plenty of services run to these stops including the 17, 30, 91, 259 and 393 which stop at Holloway Road and Highbury Corner.

Outside the Stadium

Ashburton Grove is based on elevated ground, accessible via large ramps and staircases to the north, southeast and southwest. Fans coming to the ground from Holloway Road Station should end up using the southwest ramps to reach the stadium’s vicinity.
Arsenal’s Main Club Shop, known as The Armoury, is based next to one of the southwest staircases, with a Box Office also next door to here. The Arsenal Hub, a large store for official kit, souvenirs and personalised t-shirts, is based further down Benwell Road.

Ashburton Grove itself consists of four stands, taking their names from the four that were in place at Highbury. Major work began in August 2009 to ‘Arsenalise’ the stadium and make it ‘a visible stronghold of all things Arsenal through a variety of artistic and creative means.’
What that work has created is a beautiful exterior that proudly reflects the long-standing history of Arsenal Football Club and the many famous names that have worn the shirt over the years.

The South Stand at Ashburton Grove is known as the Clock End.
Encompassing both the stadium’s southeast and southwest corners, its exterior is split into sections that form a continuous pattern.
One section consists of a large glass façade with open space underneath for turnstiles. The section adjacent to it depicts a giant mural of four Arsenal legends linking arms, and the grey base below this mural provides further details about the players that feature above. There are eight of this giant murals on Ashburton Grove’s exterior in total, depicting a total of 32 different Arsenal legends in a huddle.

In a clockwise direction, starting from the north of the stadium, the murals show:
-Cliff Bastin, Tony Adams, Liam Brady and Thierry Henry.
-Ray Parlour, Frank McLintock, Steve Bould and Pat Rice.
-Patrick Vieira, Reg Lewis, Lee Dixon and Joe Mercer.
-Ian Wright, George Armstrong, David Jack and Martin Keown.
-David Seaman, Ted Drake, David Rocastle and Alex James.
-Dennis Bergkamp, Bob Wilson, Eddie Hapgood and Charlie George.
-Nigel Winterburn, David Danskin, Kenny Sansom and Jack Kelsey.
-Robert Pires, John Radford, David O’Leary and George Male.
The Clock End contains the two southernmost murals and roughly half of each of the southeast and southwest murals, meaning that three glass façade sections also make up the Clock End’s exterior.
Turnstiles into this stand can be found underneath each glass façade section.

The ‘Arsenalisation’ of Ashburton Grove is not just limited to the stadium’s exterior.
The concourse surrounding the ground has 12 murals which depict 12 of the greatest moments in Arsenal’s history which were voted for by a poll on the club’s website.
Alongside these, there are five statues around the stadium’s vicinity, and two of them can be found near to the stadium’s southwest corner.

The first off these is based by one of the 12 murals and is of Thierry Henry.
Born in southwestern Paris on 17th August 1977, Henry moved to Arsenal in 1999 having previously come through at AS Monaco and briefly moved to Italian club Juventus. Henry would spent eight seasons at Arsenal, playing 370 times and scoring 226 goals during a highly successful period for the Gunners.
After leaving to join Spanish club Barcelona in 2007 and later moving to the United States to join the New York Red Bulls, Thierry Henry returned for a brief loan spell at Arsenal during the 2011-12, playing a further seven times and adding a further two goals to his tally. His total of 228 goals for the Gunners remains an all-time record for the club. His accolades in North London includes two FA Cups, two Community Shields and two Premier League Titles, the second of which in 2003-04 was part of the famous ‘Invincibles’ season where Arsenal did not lose a single league game.
Currently France’s all-time top goal scorer with 51 goals from 123 caps, many regard Thierry Henry as one of the greatest players ever to play in English football. He has stepped into management since retiring in 2014 and has an active role in the media.
The statue of Thierry Henry at Ashburton Grove was one of three revealed on 9th December 2011, and depicts his famous celebration after scoring a wonder goal against arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Highbury in November 2002.

The other statue on this side of the stadium can be found above The Armoury, near to an Arsenal Merchandise Hub. The statue is of club icon Dennis Bergkamp.
Amsterdam-born, Bergkamp joined Arsenal in 1995 having previously been at his boyhood club Ajax and Italian club Inter Milan. Coinciding with most of Thierry Henry’s time at Arsenal, Bergkamp spent 11 seasons with the Gunners, playing over 420 times and scoring 120 goals. He would win three FA Cups, three Community Shields and three Premier League Titles at Arsenal, including the aforementioned ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003-04.
Operating as a forward, Bergkamp became world-renowned at Arsenal for his skill and creative ability, in particular his first touch which is considered to be one of the best and most intelligent in the history of English football.
The first football match played at Ashburton Grove was a testimonial in Bergkamp’s honour, a 2-1 win for Arsenal over his boyhood club Ajax.
The joint-fourth all-time scorer for the Netherlands with 37 goals from 79 caps, Bergkamp retired in 2006.
The statue of him outside Ashburton Grove was unveiled on 22nd February 2014 and depicts Bergkamp jumping to control the ball with his right foot.

The exterior of Ashburton Grove’s West Stand encompasses roughly half of each of the westernmost murals and the glass façade based between them.
Best reached via a staircase and long ramp next to the A103, the turnstiles for this stand are based under the glass façade, with the bases of either mural providing more details on the Arsenal legends that feature above them.

The northern side of Ashburton Grove is known as the North Bank.
It encompasses both the stadium’s northwest and northeast corners, meaning that both the northernmost murals and roughly half of the northwest and northeast are considered part of its exterior. Three glass façade sections make up the space between these murals.
Turnstiles into this stand can be found underneath each glass façade section.
The triangular-shaped building outside the North Bank nowadays holds the Arsenal Club Museum.

There are two statues outside the exterior of the North Bank. The nearest one to the stadium is of Tony Adams.
Born in Romford, Adams was a centre-back who spent his entire playing career with Arsenal, making over 670 appearances for the Gunners between 1983 and 2002. His list of honours with the club includes three FA Cups, two League Cups, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, one Community Shield and four First Division/Premier League Titles.
A rugged defender who earned 66 caps for England, Adams has moved into coaching and managerial roles since retiring as a player.
His statue was one of three unveiled outside Ashburton Grove on 9th December 2011, and recreates his iconic pose after scoring the final goal in a 4-0 win against Everton on 3rd May 1998 that clinched Arsenal the title.

The other statue on this side of the stadium is based at the top of a staircase and is of Ken Friar.
It depicts a young Friar in 1945 playing football outside Highbury in his school uniform. The display next to the statue tells the story of how Friar once miskicked a ball underneath a parked car that belonged to then-Arsenal manager George Allison. Impressed with his enthusiasm, Allison offered Friar a job as a messenger at Highbury on matchdays, and that began a lifelong association with Arsenal that included time as a board member, managing director and secretary of the club.
Involved in many of the club’s most important moments during the 20th and 21st century, Friar has been life president of Arsenal since September 2020.
The Ken Friar Statue was unveiled on 28th February 2014 to commemorate the completion of the adjacent Ken Friar Bridge. It is the northern entrance to the stadium’s vicinity, passing over the railway tracks and leading onto Drayton Park.
Alongside the road is a large building made mostly from red brick and large green panels that houses a Club Store and Ticket Office. Staircases and lifts lead you up to the Ken Friar Bridge from this building.

The exterior of Ashburton Grove’s East Stand encompasses roughly half of each of the easternmost murals and the glass façade based between them.
Best reached via one of the two bridges on the eastern side off Drayton Park, the turnstiles for this stand are based under the glass façade, with the bases of either mural providing more details on the Arsenal legends that feature above them.

The final statue at Ashburton Grove is located outside the stadium’s southeast corner and is of Herbert Chapman.
Born in Yorkshire on 19th January 1878, Chapman had a rather unremarkable playing career for a variety of Football League and Non-League clubs.
What he is best remembered for is his time in management, including a successful stint at Huddersfield Town between 1921 and 1925. Chapman left Huddersfield for Arsenal and is crediting with turning the clubs fortunes around, introducing the use of physiotherapists, new training techniques, and the renowned ‘WM formation’ which forms the basis of many football formations in the modern day. He led Arsenal to the FA Cup in 1930 and won First Division Titles in both 1931 and 1933.
Considered one of the greatest and most influential managers of the 20th century, Chapman suddenly passed away from pneumonia on 6th January 1934 at the age of 55.
His statue was one of three unveiled outside Ashburton Grove on 9th December 2011, depicting him staring at the stadium as a symbol of the club’s progression since he revolutionised Arsenal.

Out behind the Herbert Chapman statue is the second footbridge from Drayton Park.
It is named after Danny Fiszman, a diamond dealer from Willesden who was best known for being a shareholder and director of Arsenal between 1991 and 2011. He played a leading role in the move from Highbury to Ashburton Grove, being the largest club shareholder at the time the move took place.
Fiszman passed away on 13th April 2011 at the age of 66, and the bridge leading up to the stadium’s southeast corner was named in his honour soon after.

Inside the Stadium

The Ashburton Grove interior forms four continuous rings that run the whole away around the pitch.
The two innermost rings contain the most expensive seats, but these are still often sold out on a matchday due to the immense popularity of Arsenal Football Club.

The Clock End encompasses the stadium’s southeast and southwest corners alongside the southern side of the stadium.
All of the seats in this part of the ground are coloured red, with the first tier the second largest of the four levels. The front rows of this tier are still a fair distance back from the pitch though as there is a cinder track in between. The seating block left of centre in this tier has two columns of metal fences in the middle as the stadium’s designated away section begins here.
The second tier is much smaller than the first tier and hangs slightly over the back rows below. This is the Club Level that rings around the entire stadium and has a number of lounges and restaurants up behind its back row.
The third tier is the smallest of the four, consisting entirely of executive boxes with a few rows of red seating in front of each one.
The fourth tier hangs almost fully over the third tier and is semi-circular in shape, meaning that the back row is higher up at the southern end of the stadium than the adjacent southeast and southwest corners. Perspex panels up behind the back row allow light to access the pitch, and there is a large electronic screen attached to panels above the southeast corner.
The main feature on this side of the stadium though is the analogue clock attached to the roof which gives the stand its name. The clock is a larger version of the one that was in place above the South Stand at Highbury.
Your view from anywhere inside the Clock End is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof, and spaces above the Perspex panels aid with airflow into the stadium. The lower tier rows are shallower when compared to the rest of the stadium however and this means that your view of the pitch may be affected by who is sat in the rows in front of you.

The West Stand follows a very similar interior design to the adjacent Clock End, divided into four tiers of entirely red seating.
The first tier is the second largest of the four levels, and its front rows are a fair distance back from the pitch as there is a cinder track in between. The stadium’s dugouts and tunnel are based down at the front of this tier with the changing rooms located inside. The press area is based at the back of the first tier and left of centre.
The second tier is much smaller than the first tier and hangs slightly over the back rows below. This is the Club Level that rings around the entire stadium and has a number of lounges and restaurants up behind its back row. The central block in this tier is darker in colour and for use by directors, with an electronic scoreboard attached to the wall in front.
The third tier is the smallest of the four, consisting entirely of executive boxes with a few rows of red seating in front of each one. The central blocks of this tier are also darker colour as these are the Directors’ Boxes.
The fourth tier hangs almost fully over the third tier and is semi-circular in shape, meaning that the back row is higher up in the West Stand than the adjacent southwest and northwest corners. Perspex panels up behind the back row allow light to access the pitch, and down at the front of the four tier is the area that holds the matchday camera.
Your view from anywhere inside the West Stand is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof, and spaces above the Perspex panels aid with airflow into the stadium. The lower tier rows are shallower when compared to the rest of the stadium however and this means that your view of the pitch may be affected by who is sat in the rows in front of you.

The North Bank encompasses the stadium’s northwest and northeast corners alongside the northern side of the stadium. It is almost an exact carbon-copy of the Clock End opposite, the only notable difference being the absence of an analogue clock on the stand’s roof.
All of the seats in this part of the ground are coloured red, with the first tier the second largest of the four levels. The front rows of this tier are still a fair distance back from the pitch though as there is a cinder track in between.
The second tier is much smaller than the first tier and hangs slightly over the back rows below. This is the Club Level that rings around the entire stadium and has a number of lounges and restaurants up behind its back row.
The third tier is the smallest of the four, consisting entirely of executive boxes with a few rows of red seating in front of each one.
The fourth tier hangs almost fully over the third tier and is semi-circular in shape, meaning that the back row is higher up at the northern end of the stadium than the adjacent northwest and northeast corners. Perspex panels up behind the back row allow light to access the pitch, and there is a large electronic screen attached to panels above the northwest corner.
Your view from anywhere inside the North Bank is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof, and spaces above the Perspex panels aid with airflow into the stadium. The lower tier rows are shallower when compared to the rest of the stadium however and this means that your view of the pitch may be affected by who is sat in the rows in front of you.

The East Stand follows a very similar interior design to the West Stand opposite, divided into four tiers of almost entirely red seating.
The main feature with this side of the stadium is the large cannon, similar to the one that appears on the Arsenal badge, made out of white seating in the middle of the first tier. This first tier is the second largest of the four levels, and its front rows are a fair distance back from the pitch as there is a cinder track in between. In one of the blocks next to the stadium’s southeast corner are two columns of metal fences as this is where the stadium’s designated away section begins.
The second tier is much smaller than the first tier and hangs slightly over the back rows below. This is the Club Level that rings around the entire stadium and has a number of lounges and restaurants up behind its back row. The central block in this tier has an electronic scoreboard attached to the wall in front of it.
The third tier is the smallest of the four, consisting entirely of executive boxes with a few rows of red seating in front of each one.
The fourth tier hangs almost fully over the third tier and is semi-circular in shape, meaning that the back row is higher up in the East Stand than the adjacent northeast and southeast corners. Perspex panels up behind the back row allow light to access the pitch.
Your view from anywhere inside the East Stand is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof, and spaces above the Perspex panels aid with airflow into the stadium. The lower tier rows are shallower when compared to the rest of the stadium however and this means that your view of the pitch may be affected by who is sat in the rows in front of you.

There are three main walls between each tier that rings around the stadium.
The wall between the first and second tiers often has sponsors logos on it.
The wall between the second and third tiers has Arsenal.com, images of the Arsenal cannon and often large Arsenal-related flags on it.
The wall between the third and fourth tiers often has Arsenal-related flags on it, but also lists all the major honours Arsenal have won in their history and the year they won each trophy.

Away Fans

Away fans at Ashburton Grove are housed in the lower tier of the stadium’s southeast corner.
This area is sectioned off from home fans in neighbouring parts of the lower tier by metal bars, though Arsenal will also use stewards to segregate the away crowd from the home supporters.

The seats here may be padded and offer plenty of leg room, but with the lower tier quite shallow in comparison to the tiers above, your view might be slightly affected by those sat in front of you. Around 3,000 tickets are made available to away fans on a matchday, but this allocation is sometimes increased for cup games.
The close location of home supporters above and to either side of you can help enhance the atmospherics during games, though many believe that the atmosphere at Ashburton Grove has not been able to recreate the level that it once was at Arsenal’s former Highbury home.

Matchday Pubs

Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The Auld Triangle (52 St Thomas's Road, N4 2QW) (Typically Home Supporters)

-The BlackStock (284 Seven Sisters Road, N4 2HY) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)

-The Coronet (338-346 Holloway Road, N7 6NJ) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters)

-The Drayton Park (Drayton Park, N5 1ND) (Typically Away Supporters)

-The Twelve Pins (263 Seven Sisters Road, N4 2DE) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)

Overview

The move to Ashburton Grove came as part of Arsenal’s desire to accommodate an ever-growing fanbase and financially compete with football’s best. Leaving an iconic place they called home for decades, their new stadium is a world class venue with beautiful aesthetics, but there are people who feel that it’s interior layout and large crowd of corporates have affected the atmosphere on a matchday.

Whilst Highbury could get fans right up against the pitch and make the players feel like they were on top of them, that isn’t quite the same case at Ashburton Grove where even the furthest forward fans are separated from the pitch by a cinder track.

It’s a leading stadium in terms of its design and accessibility, but some feel that it may never be able to recreate the special feelings which the ‘Home of Football’ gave to so many.
You will certainly be able to make your own decision on this once you have paid a visit, something I definitely encourage you to do.

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