If you’re going to a game at Arsenal, it’s quite easy and worthwhile to make a visit to their old ground at Highbury. Here’s how.
First, if you didn’t know the old place is still there … well, it isn’t entirely. Arsenal Stadium, which everybody just called Highbury (and sometimes “Highbury Library” for being too quiet) was converted to housing when Arsenal moved into their palatial new stadium, The Emirates, in 2006.
But much of the structure of the old place is still there, including the main East Stand, which is a protected building. It is now flats, as is what’s left of the West Stand across the way. The old Clock End and North Bank are long gone. All this is known as Highbury Square.
In fact, at least one unit in Highbury Square is on AirBnB — so you can stay at the old Arsenal Stadium!
The pitch was converted to a garden for the residents of the place. You can go by and see all of this as a short diversion on your way to an Arsenal game.
To do this, just walk out of Arsenal Station on the Underground and, instead of turning right with all the crowds, turn left and walk down to Avenell Street, then turn right.
The East Stand meets the definition of “can’t miss it,” a few minutes down on the right. It’s an impressive art deco building erected in 1936 and still dominates the street. But what amazes me the most is one of the things I think people will love about watching soccer in England: that even this home of a giant, league-winning club is just tucked into a neighborhood in the north of London. By many standards, even the new place fits neatly into the area, as opposed to being surrounded by parking lots, etc.
Now let’s take a look at the old pitch. Walk down to the end of the East Stand and walk through a gate on the right. This leads to what was the pitch, now a garden closed off by more gates. This was the old Clock End, so you’re looking across at the site of the old North Bank.
Keep going and pass through a kind of tunnel next to the East Stand. This is the way towards the new stadium, but it also leads you to the next street over, Highbury Hill, and when you get there look on the right for the old Supporters Club, another impressive building in the same art deco style.
So now that you have had a little walk though Arsenal history, head on over to the Emirates to see the present.