Date: 7th May 2006 at 12:01am
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Tomorrow see’s the end of an era as an Arsenal legend open’s it’s turnstyles one last time.

When the final whistle blows, it will not only be signifying the end of a football match, but also the end of a very long chapter in a very interesting book.

Highbury has seen some amazing moments in football, both good and bad, it has witnessed some breathtaking goals, enthralling battles, and has brought tears of joy and despair.

For 93 years, Highbury has housed some of the very best players in the world, Drake, Bastin, Brady, Adams, Wright, Bergkamp and Henry are but a few who have donned the red and white and inspired men and boys alike in front of a packed Highbury. And it was always packed.

The demand for tickets has become so great that staying at Highbury was no longer viable, there was no capacity to extend the stadium further, so a move was inevitable. I just didn’t think it would be so quickly.

It seems like only yesterday we watched Tony Adams spring Everton’s offside trap and latch onto a Stevie Bould through ball and smash home a left footer, that Thierry Henry would have been proud of, to clinch the first trophy under Arsene Wenger, surely it was only last week that the cheeky Sammy Nelson unveiled his bear arse to the North Bank after scoring against Coventry, how long ago was it we saw Thierry Henry carry the ball the full length of the pitch, smash the ball home and then run all the way back to celebrate in front of the fuming Spurs fans? it can’t have been that long ago that the Highbury faithful stared in awe as Dennis Bergkamp fired in the first of many goals in an Arsenal shirt……….can it?

I don’t really think it has sunk in, that in a matter of hours the mighty Arsenal will take to the hallowed turf to lock horns in battle one last time. The 38,500 people lucky enough to have a season ticket or had the good fortune to be drawn in the ballot will be the last to leave the pubs and walk down Avenell road, match ticket in their pockets, programme in one hand and a burger in the other. They will be the lucky ones who get to smell that matchday smell around the streets of N5. They get to feel that feeling you get everytime the perfect Highbury pitch comes into view as you enter that beautiful arena, having had your fill of beer and food. Lucky bastards.

When the Highbury countdown clock reaches zero, we will all realise that we will no longer be able to sit in our lucky seats in the East and West stands and we will never again Serenade each other from the Clock End and North Bank.

When the last hot dog has been sold, when the North Bank screamer has screamed her last scream, when the last gooner leaves the home of football it will be the dawn of a new era.

However, we must remember that even though this is the end as far as Highbury football stadium is concerned, it is only the begining for a new and improved Arsenal Football Club. We all have special memories of the place, but the reason we all gather to worship every other weekend is not for the stadium, but for our beloved team.

‘Highbury will always have a place in my heart, but it is Arsenal that I love’

Goodbye old friend, you will be greatly missed.

 

4 Replies to “Goodbye Old Friend”

  • I really needed that first thing this morning, didn’t I. The old tear ducts are going to take a battering today. Nice piece there Paul.

  • Such a shame you couldn’t do anything to expand, but being where you are makes that impossible. Do you think it will take the players long to get used to the new ground?

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