ArsenalClubPremier League

Club moves to Emirates Stadium

Story Highlights
  • Arsenal's move to Emirates Stadium
  • Arsenal's rejuvenation of local community
  • Emirates Stadium inaugural season
  • Dennis Bergkamp's testimonial at Emirates
  • Highbury's emotional closing ceremony
  • Arsenal's financial growth with Emirates Stadium

When Arsenal moved from Woolwich to Highbury, it gave them a chance to rise in the football ranks. Their move to the Emirates Stadium in 2006 is set to keep them there.

This was no small undertaking. Leaving their home of 93 years for a state-of-the-art venue nearby, the Club did more than build a new stadium – it rejuvenated the local community.

“Emirates Stadium, known as one of the world’s finest football venues, sold out every first-team game in its inaugural season.”

Arsenal announced the plans to shift to a new stadium at Ashburton Grove in November 1999. Construction started in February 2004, once planning permission was granted in May 2002 and funding was finalized.

By October 2004, the significant North and South Bridges were installed, and the venue was officially named the Emirates Stadium. The stadium officially opened for business a year after the Topping-Out ceremony in August 2005.

Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial on July 22, 2006, marked its first game. The Emirates has since lived up to expectations, renowned as one of the best football stadiums globally, selling out every first-team match in its first season.

The then Managing Director, Keith Edelman, expressed before the move that this pivotal transition would financially enable Arsenal to maintain its top-tier competitiveness. He said, “Our goal is to be a leading European club, and the new stadium will place us in that position. It will provide a significant income boost.”

“When we move to Emirates Stadium, we will earn a higher percentage from gate receipts. Almost 50 percent of our revenue will come from gate income at Emirates Stadium, compared to around 30 percent at Highbury.”

He further mentioned that the income generated solely from executive boxes and Club Level would be nearly equivalent to the total payment at Highbury, not even accounting for the revenue from accommodating an additional 51,000 spectators.

The curtain fell on Highbury’s 93-year history with an emotional closing ceremony on May 7, 2006, after a 4-2 victory over Wigan, clinching a Champions League spot over Tottenham. While Highbury will always be Arsenal’s spiritual home, Emirates Stadium is the gateway to their future.

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