|Arsenal 1 v 0 Leeds United|
Monday, 6th January 2020 Kick-off 19:56
Sunday, 5th Jan 2020 20:26 by Tim Whelan
Our FA Cup tie at Arsenal kicks off at 7.56 tomorrow night, as it’s being televised live on BBC1. The odd kick off time is due a mental heath initiative, so we can spend a minute trying to summon some inner peace, rather than stressing about the game.
I can’t recommend that you drive all the way to the Emirates stadium, because the streets get very congested and there is a residents-only parking scheme in all directions around the stadium, which is strictly enforced by an army of traffic wardens. The best idea is to park at Cockfosters (junction 24 of the M25 and then 3 miles along the A111) and take the Piccadilly line.
The nearest underground station is Holloway Road, but this is closed for an hour or so before and after the game for safety reasons. The problem is that the station relies mostly on lifts to transport passengers to and from street level, which can’t cope with a large number of people in a short period of time.
So you’ll probably need to get off at Arsenal station, which was right outside their old Highbury stadium, but it still within easy walking distance of their new home. Turn right outside the station and follow Drayton Park Road around to the left. Then take one of the large bridges over the railway line to the stadium.
If you’re catching the train from Leeds it’s a simple journey from Kings Cross, just three stops along the Piccadilly line to Arsenal, and despite all expectations there will be an extra late train back. For those prepared to leave Kings Cross at 11.33pm and get back into Leeds at 02.36 on Tuesday morning.
The nearest overground station is Drayton Park, which is situated right next to the stadium. When the stadium was first built it was also closed on matchdays for safety reasons, but the internet is suggesting that trains will be running there tomorrow night. The exits from this station were supposed to be improved as one of the conditions for granting planning permission for the new stadium, so perhaps they’ve now got round to doing this.
The traditional pub for away supporters is the Drayton Arms (Courage), next to Arsenal tube station and Drayton Park railway station, though it does get very busy on matchdays. A couple of other establishments you could try are the Twelve Pins and ‘The Blackstock’, which are both close to Finsbury Park station. Alcohol is usually available inside the stadium.
Arsenal moved out of Highbury after 93 years of playing at their old stadium, as the cramped site meant that in the all-seater era they could never expand it’s capacity to meet the demand for tickets, so in 2006 they moved into the Emirates. The whole project cost £390m, but this included the conversion of Highbury into residential accommodation, and the sale of these flats has helped to offset a lot of their huge outlay.
With 60,383 seats on offer they have enjoyed a huge increase in their matchday revenues since the new stadium opened, though somehow they seem to have lost 49 seats from the official capacity since we last came to these parts.
Away fans at the usually get an allocation of 3,000 in the lower tier of the South East corner, but this can be increased for cup games, and we have been given approximately 8,000 seats for this game. The official Leeds site says this figure was agreed after discussions with the Safety Advisory Group, but doesn’t say whether we could have been given even more, or whether they thought they’d better give us a decent number to stop Leeds fans trying to get into the home stands.
Despite a lot of moaning about the game being moved to Monday night and how hard that would make it to get back to Leeds afterwards, our allocation sold out as soon as it went on sale. Which is probably down to the number of Leeds fans living in London and other parts of the south-east, for whom it’s an easy journey.
Away adult ticket prices for this game are £34.50 and £36.50 in the upper tier and £26 in the lower tier. And there are various categories of concessions from £10 through to £18, again with ticketes being more expensive in the upper tier.
There seem to be a few tickets left in the home sections of the stadium, but to get one you would need to have one of the various categories of Arsenal membership, and like us, they seem to have quite a few of them.
As far as the facilities are concerned, the seats are padded seats and plenty of leg room, but the lower tier of the stadium is quite shallow so the view isn’t that good in the front rows of that section. Also the concourse is disappointingly narrow for a new stadium, though it does offer a wide selection of scoff at the usual vastly inflated London prices.
All in all this has the makings of a good night out, and hopefully we will be back again next year for a league fixture.
Some of this rubbish came from www.footballgroundguide.com
Photo: Action Images
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