Sunday, September 6, 2009

6 September 1913 - Say "Hi" To Highbury

On 6 September 1913, Arsenal defeated Leicester Fosse 2-1 on the first day of the 1913-14 Second Division season. It was the first match played at the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury.

In that match, Leicester's Tommy Benfield scored the first Highbury goal, while George Jobey was the first Arsenal player to score there.

Highbury was designed by renowned architect Archibald Leitch and was built at a cost of £125,000. Leitch's original design included only one stand on the east side, with banked terraces on the other three sides. The stadium was redesigned twice--once in the 1930s and again in 1992. The earlier renovations added the West Stand and roofing over the North Terrace, while the later renovations converted the stadium into an all-seater in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.

The last match at Highbury was played on 7 May 2006, a 4-2 Arsenal Premier League victory over Wigan, as the Gunners moved to a new stadium for the 2006-07 season. Over the course of its service, Highbury hosted 2,101 competitive Arsenal matches and 12 England matches.

It also featured prominently in two films--The Arsenal Stadium Mystery (1939) and Fever Pitch (1997).

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