|A Rough Guide To Arsenal|
Mon 10th Sep 2012 10:41
Most of the 3,000 Saints supporters heading up to the Emirates on Saturday will have been to Highbury but not the new home of Arsenal.
Arsenal moved to the Emirates in 2006 after 93 years of playing at Highbury which was no more than a few hundred metres from their new home, of course moving is nothing new to the Gunners who were originally situated South of the River Thames at Woolwich whose name they also bore.
The stadium itself with an overall capacity of 60,000 is the largest football ground in London and the only stadium in this country with four tiers, to give an example of its cost of £360 million, St Mary's was only a tenth of that figure to build.
Those planning on travelling up to London by train should be aware that with Hampshire playing up at Lords the trains will be more packed than usual, with many more getting on at places like Basingstoke along the way, however with Hants starting at 11.30am, most of the cricket fans will be on earlier trains, the 9am from Southampton Central probably being the latest train they could get and still be there for the start.
From Waterloo Saints fans have several options on the tube, Holloway Road on the Piccadilly line (change at Leicester square)is the nearest station to the ground, however on matchdays its usually closed as it relies on lifts to get passengers to street level and would get too crowded, a stop further on though is Arsenal and that is only a five minute or so walk away.
Finsbury Park also on the Piccadilly Line & the Victoria line as well as the overground is also recommended and many Arsenal fans prefer to use this than Arsenal after the game due to the queues at the latter, its about five minutes walk beyond Arsenal tube.
Highbury & Islington is on the Victoria line and again is a good option being around a ten minute walk from the ground.
This isnt a recommended option for a couple of reasons, firtsly youu either have to trawl right round the M25 and come in via the north, or you have to fight your way through London traffic, but if you do that parking around the stadium is very limited, street parking is rigourously enforced and even then hard to find and a fair distance from the stadium.
Arsenal fans who do drive usually come from the north of London and will park at a tube station further up the line, Cockfosters is popular, but as i mentioned this is a fair trawl around the M25. Saints fans could do worse than park somewhere like Acton where they can then pick up a piccadilly line tube direct to Arsenal.
The Away Section
Saints like all other premier teams are allocated approx 3,000 tickets in the lower tier in the South East corner, contary to rumour this is the full allocation for league games, only in cup ties is this doubled.
The Lower tier is quite shallow in the rake of the stand, meaning that the view although unobstructed is not as elevated as in most new stadiums so perhaps not as good, you do however get padded seats and plenty of leg room.
The concourse area is not as spacious as you might expect, it seems that most of the money has been spent on the upper tiers rather than the cheap seats, however you can buy alcohol and the usual food and to keep you entertained there are plenty of tv screens and betting facilities, however other visiting fans have complained that the beer kiosks can become a bit of a free for all.
Drinking Eating Etc.
The traditional pub for away fans is the same as it was at Highbury, The Drayton Arms,its situated just to the east of the stadium almost exactly half way between the new and old ground, However as you might expect from the nearest pub to the stadium, it can get extremely busy and the crowd often spills out on to the pavement, which shouldnt be a problem weather wise this weekend.
Finsbury Park is still popular and has a plethora of pubs and is only 1 10-15 minute walk away, many Arsenal fans though have migrated to the Holloway Road where there are plenty of options, Highbury and Islington tube being at the Southern End of Holloway Road would be perhaps the best tube for here.