Toon Army On The March To The Emirates Stadium!

Last updated : 24 January 2008 By Footy Mad - Editor
How To Get There By Car & Where To Park
Leave the M1 at Junction 2 and onto the A1, following the signs for City (Central London). Keep going on the A1 for around six miles, until you see Holloway Road Tube Station on your right. Take the next left at the traffic lights into Hornsey Road and the stadium is about a 1/4 of a mile further down this road.
There is little parking at the stadium itself or in nearby streets. An extensive residents only parking scheme operates around the stadium on matchdays. It's probably better to park further out of London around a tube station such as Cockfosters and get the tube to the ground.  
By Train/Tube
The nearest underground station to the stadium is Holloway Road on the Piccadilly line. However, this will be closed on matchdays as it relies mostly on lifts to transport passengers to and from street level and this could cause problems when large crowds are in attendance. Fans should therefore alight at the next stop on the Piccadilly line which is Arsenal tube station. It is only a few minutes walk from here to the stadium. On exiting the station turn right and follow Drayton Park Road around to the left. Then take one of the large bridges over the railway line to the stadium. Other tube stations in walking distance of the stadium are Finsbury Park on the Piccadilly Line and Highbury & Islington on the Victoria Line.
Otherwise you can take an overland train to Finsbury Park Railway Station from London Kings Cross. It is then about a 10 to 15 minute walk from Finsbury Park to the stadium. Drayton Park Station which is situated right by the stadium is closed at weekends.
Tim Sansom adds; 'After the game we had to walk a fair distance to find an underground station that had not been shut due to overcrowding. We found that the Arsenal underground had been shut by the police and so had to undertake a fairly long walk to Finsbury Park which was also shut by station staff. We were recommended by the police to take the mainline train into Kings Cross, which we did with no problems and were back in central London within 10 minutes'.

Emirates Stadium
After 93 years of playing at one of the most historic grounds in the country, Arsenal have moved a short distance away to their new super modern home. The stadium was designed by HOK Sport (who also designed Stadium Australia in Sydney, which was used for the Olympics) and built by Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, cost £390m to build. Unlike the new Wembley Stadium, the new Arsenal Stadium, was built on time and within budget. It has been named the Emirates Stadium in a ten year corporate sponsorship deal.
With a capacity of over 60,000 the stadium is huge in comparison to Highbury and is the largest football ground in London. It is the only stadium that I know of in this country that is four tiered. The lower tier, is large and shallow, set well back from the playing surface as a cinder track surrounds the playing area. A small second tier, which is called the Club tier, has seating and a row of executive boxes at the rear, this Club tier slightly overhangs the bottom tier. 150 executive boxes in total are located within the stadium  The third tier is even smaller, being only eight rows deep and fits entirely under the large fourth tier. This fourth tier, known as the upper tier, has been designed in a semi circular fashion and is topped by an impressive looking roof, that includes a lot of visible white tubular steelwork and perspex panels to allow more light to get to the pitch. The roofs though do not follow the semi circular shape of the stands but in fact run across the top of them and even dip down towards them giving them a strange look. Two excellent looking large video screens situated in the North West & South East corners, below the roof line, complete the stadium. For those that have been to Benfica's Stadium Of Light in Portugal, then the Emirates is very similar, both having designed by HOK Sport.
What Is It Like For Visiting Supporters?
Away fans are housed in the lower tier of the South East corner of the stadium. The normal allocation for away fans will be 3,000 tickets, but this can be increased for cup games. Although fans will have big padded seats and plenty of leg room, the lower tier of the stadium is quite shallow (unlike the upper tiers which have plenty of height between rows), meaning that the view might not be as good as you would expect from a new stadium.
Entrance to the stadium is by a 'smart ticket', whereby rather than giving your ticket to a turnstile operator, you enter it into a ticket reader to gain entry. This always confuses the away fans and a number of club staff have to be on hand to help out (as well of course trying to spot adults using the cheaper child tickets!). Once inside you'll find spacious concourses and a number of food outlets, each selling different items. Although pricey there is a wide range on offer including; Fish and chips (£5.90), Pie mash & gravy (or liquor instead of gravy, £6.50), Scottish Cheeseburger (£4), Hot Dog (£3.50), Balti Pie (£4), Minced Beef & Onion Pie (£4), Roasted vegetables and cauliflower pie (£4) and probably the best value a slice of pizza for £2.50. Alcohol is available in the form of Fosters or John Smiths at £3.20 per pint. Even at half time the queues were bearable, but it would have been nice if a proper queuing system had been put in place. There are plenty of flat screen televisions on the concourse to keep you entertained, although the volume on some were so loud that you almost think for a moment that you are queuing inside a UCI cinema rather than a football ground. There are also Ladbroke betting facilities available.
Where To Drink?
The traditional pub for away supporters at Highbury was the Drayton Arms, which is located near to Arsenal tube station and Drayton Park railway station. This Courage pub overlooks the new stadium and is only a few minutes walk away. 
Mark Long recommends the Twelve Pins (formerly the Finsbury Park Tavern) near Finsbury Park Tube Station. 'Normally a good mix of home and away fans and about a ten minute walk from the ground'. Whilst Guy McIntyre adds; 'The Blackstock opposite The Twelve Pins, also welcomes away fans, plus it has a big screen showing Sky Sports'. Otherwise alcohol is available inside the stadium (Fosters, John Smith's & Strongbow).