|Arsenal 2 v 0 Leeds United|
Tuesday, 26th October 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Monday, 25th Oct 2021 08:47 by Tim Whelan
Our Carabao Cup tie at Arsenal kicks off at 7.45 tomorrow night, and it’s being televised live on Sky Sports. Which is just as well, as we’ll suffer a reduced allocation compared to our FA Cup visit two seasons ago.
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. At least for those prepared to leave Kings Cross at 11.33pm and get back into Leeds at 02.34 on Wednesday morning.
The nearest overground station is Drayton Park, which is situated right next to the stadium, but this is also closed on matchdays for safety reasons. 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. For Premier League games away fans get an allocation of 3,000 in the lower tier of the South East corner, but this can be increased for cup games. Last time we were been given approximately 8,000 seats for the FA Cup tie game, but this time it’s been reduced to 5,200.
The explanation given on the official Leeds website was that “Arsenal Football Club’s Safety Team have advised that due to persistent standing during our last match played in the FA Cup Third Round in January 2020, we will only be allocated the Lower Tier for our forthcoming fixture.” These tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 concessions and sold out within minutes of going on sale. Which was 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.
The reduced allocation obviously created the temptation for Leeds fans to mix with the locals, but home tickets will only be made available to members who renewed or joined the Arsenal membership before 21:45 on Wednesday, September 22, 2021. Which by no co-incidence was the time that the draw for this round of the cup was made.
And just in case any of us manage to clear that hurdle, the official Arsenal website warns that “visiting supporters that purchase a ticket in the home end for this fixture are likely to be ejected from the stadium”. Does this mean that Leeds fans in the stands down the side will be allowed to stay where they are?
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, at least for those of us who manage to get there.
Some of this rubbish came from www.footballgroundguide.com
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