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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 May 2006, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Highbury memories
By Paul Fletcher

Arsenal marked their final match at Highbury with 4-2 win over Wigan on Sunday 7 May.

The club will play at their new Emirates Stadium at Ashburton Grove from the 2005-2006 campaign.

Respected broadcaster Tom Watt, long-time fan Keith Martin and Graham Weaver, author of 12-0 to the Arsenal (and a goal in injury time), share their memories of the famous old ground.

Messageboard users also told us their favourite moments from Highbury's illustrious past.

FAVOURITE MATCH

Tom Watt: The Fairs Cup final against Anderlecht in 1970. It came four or five years into my time as an Arsenal supporter. I was about 14 or 15.

We were 3-1 down after the first leg but won 3-0 at Highbury to take the trophy.

Keith Martin: My favourite match would probably also be beating Anderlecht in the Fairs Cup final. It was the first trophy I saw us win.

Arsenal captain celebrates winning the Premiership in 1998
Adams scored in the win over Everton

Graham Weaver: Probably a game that a lot of people would say - the match that clinched the Premiership title in 1998.

We had to beat Everton and played them off the park. Arsenal won 4-0 and Tony Adams famously scored the fourth, then stood with his arms outstretched milking the applause.

I sit in the upper tier of the North Bank and it was that afternoon that we realised it actually bounced. It was a little worrying at the time.

As they played music over the tannoy everyone was stomping their feet. Legend has it that an architect in the stand ran from his seat and left the ground.

FAVOURITE GOAL

Tom Watt: My favourite goal was scored in May 1992. It was against Southampton in the last match played in front of the old North Bank.

Ian Wright did a 60-yard mazy from inside his own half, beating four or five defenders before scoring to make sure the old stand got a good send-off.

I was standing on the North Bank that afternoon but I grew up on the Clock End and have had a season ticket there since 1971.

Keith Martin: The one that springs to mind is Thierry Henry's goal against Spurs on 16 November 2002. Henry ran virtually the length of the pitch and it was special because it came against Tottenham.

Graham Weaver: The one goal I would pick was scored by Anders Limpar in a game against Liverpool in April 1992.

Everyone talks about the famous David Beckham goal against Wimbledon but Limpar did pretty much the same, chipping Bruce Grobbelaar from the centre circle.

We won 4-0 at a time when Liverpool were still the team to beat.

BEST ARSENAL PLAYER AT HIGHBURY

Tom Watt: It is tricky to call between Liam Brady and Dennis Bergkamp.

Dennis Bergkamp in action for Arsenal
Striker Bergkamp is the firm favourite of the supporters

If I had to pick one it would probably be Bergkamp. He has now been at Arsenal for 10 years and, for all that Arsene Wenger has changed at Arsenal, Bergkamp has been just as important in changing the football club forever.

Keith Martin: Liam Brady was special but the man who transformed our club is Dennis Bergkamp. When Dennis arrived, the club went up another level.

Tony Adams is a legend but without a shadow of doubt Bergkamp is the best player I have ever seen.

Graham Weaver: My favourite player is Dennis Bergkamp. It is one of the few times Arsenal have signed a player who was world class at the time. He was already one of my favourite players and the excitement when he joined was fantastic.

BEST OPPOSITION PLAYER AT HIGHBURY

Tom Watt: The only reason I really liked opposition players was if they happened to hate us as much as we hated them. On that score I would say that Kerry Dixon and Teddy Sheringham are two of my favourite opposition players.

Keith Martin: I don't pay too much attention to the opposition. I saw George Best towards the latter end of his career and he was tremendous.

Graham Weaver: The trouble is that being so one-eyed you don't really notice the opposition. Probably Patrick Vieira when he came back with Juventus.

FAVOURITE HIGHBURY MEMORY

Tom Watt: If there was a favourite moment for personal reasons it was in the mid-to-late 1980s when Charlie Nicholas was at the club.

I had a mate who I used to take along every now and then. He favoured Arsenal without being a committed supporter.

Fans mill around Highbury on matchday at Arsenal
Supporters are keen to preserve their matchday traditions

One night Nicholas was out on the wing near our seats. He nutmegged Chelsea defender Doug Rougvie and chipped the keeper from about 35 yards.

Literally the next day my mate bought his first season ticket and has been going ever since.

Keith Martin: It is very difficult to pick out something because there are so many great memories. The one thing I will probably miss the most is the closeness of the crowd to the pitch. It has always been an advantage for us.

Graham Weaver: I first went to Highbury for my seventh birthday. My dad was an Aston Villa supporter and I was not really an Arsenal supporter.

At the time we lived not far north of London and so Highbury was the easiest ground to reach. From that game I was hooked on Arsenal.

UNHAPPIEST HIGHBURY MEMORY

Tom Watt: A pretty bad one was going out of the Champions League against Chelsea.

In the first half of that game we played the best football of the season - and that was a campaign when we went on to win the title without losing a match.

Arsenal's Colin Pates (left) tries to tackle Benfica's Sergei Yuran
Arsenal's defeat by Benfica left fans bitterly disappointed

They mugged us at the end. If we had won that night we would have won the European Cup - Chelsea did not.

Keith Martin: I like winning trophies at other grounds - Anfield, Tottenham twice, Old Trafford.

The worst moment for me was probably when Villa won the title at Highbury in May 1981. Even though we beat Villa they were crowned champions afterwards and celebrated on the pitch at Highbury.

Graham Weaver: The one that springs to mind was when we played Benfica in November 1991.

It was the first time an English team had been in the European Cup following the Heysel ban.

We drew 1-1 in Lisbon, brought them back to Highbury and took the lead in that match. I thought 'here we go' but they got one back and then played us off the park in extra time.

We lost 3-1 on the night, 4-2 on aggregate. With English teams having done so well in the past I thought we might win the trophy and to go out so early was a big disappointment.

IF YOU COULD TAKE ONE THING TO THE NEW GROUND...

Tom Watt: I would take Thierry Henry.

Keith Martin: If I could take one thing from Highbury it would probably be Thierry Henry. Having said that the club have offered him the best deal ever and if he says no then we will say 'thanks very much' and carry on.

Graham Weaver: I would quite like to take my seat - it is very comfortable.

ARE ARSENAL RIGHT TO LEAVE HIGHBURY?

Tom Watt: Yes

Keith Martin: Without a shadow of a doubt - it is 100% the right move.

Graham Weaver: Yes - I think so. The impression I get is that, although most fans don't want to leave Highbury, they realise that it has to happen.

YOUR FAVOURITE HIGHBURY MOMENTS

As a little boy in the mid 90s going to my first match and wandering up Avenell Road to see this stadium appear amongst all the terraced houses. It was an amazing sight all lit up and instantly you could tell this was and always will be a special place.
James Rattigan, UK

"Let's go to Highbury today" said Dad to seven-year-old me in 1975. My first time? Today? I'm ready! A 0-2 loss to Everton and only views of legs did not spoil love at first sight. Twenty years on and so many memories: SuperMac stuck on 29, Brady's red card in Europe, 50,000 for Everton semi, Dennis first goal and Tony's last of 2002...happy times.
Matt Lowman, UK

One moment I've never forgotten was, I think, in the 1974/75 season and we were struggling down the wrong end of the table. Liverpool, as they did in those days, had come for a draw - but with the score at 0-0 with minutes left, John Radford nodded one in to win us the match. And as I was watching from the schoolboys' enclosure I was looking directly in line with the pitch and could see Emlyn Hughes (RIP) down on his knees pounding the grass with his fists at having lost the game at the last minute. Of course that's just one of many.
Mick O'Gorman, UK

Highbury...AMAZING! The best atmosphere and fans you could ask for and all watchin the best team! will miss the wonderful playing surface and the exquistite North Bank.
Matt Gallafant, England

Tony Adams' goal against Everton in the last minute of the Premiership season in 1998. It summed up Arsenal's whole season that one moment and the commentary at the time I think it was from Martin Tyler. Never heard anything so true. A fantastic end to a fantastic season for the Gunners.
Adam, Northern Ireland

April 1980, in London evening before a job interview - I went to see Arsenal play Juventus in the semi: Brady was sublime, O'Leary was stretchered off after Betega's tackle, 68,000 attendance. Blew the interview - couldn't care less.
John, Scotland

My great uncle used to take me to Highbury when I was little. He sadly passed away just before Christmas 2005, but my best memories of him will always be the ones at Highbury, jumping up to our goals and telling off the players loudly when we conceded!
Highbury Princess!, UK

European Cup Winners Cup quarter final 1994. I was stone broke, so I sold all my Who & Jam albums to raise money for the boat and coach trip from Dublin. Sat in the West Stand lower beside Torino fans - they fought, we won. They sang a song to the tune of "Go West" We adapted it to 1-0 - a tradition was born.
Gerry Thompson, Ireland

Fairs Cup Final v Feyernoord, standing on the North Bank. I'd just been given a watch for my 21st birthday. The crowd went wild as Arsenal won the cup, however I lost my watch on the terraces, but as the crowd cleared after the Cup presentation i found the watch unscathed shining in the floodlights, and boy did we celebrate.
Steve Hoy, Canada

Highbury has been a huge part of my life since my first visit in September 1963. From my first visit I was mesmerised, captivated and obssessed with everything about this wonderful old club. It is so sad to be leaving and I am sure I will be welling up with emotion on the final day. Goodbye old friend, I shall never forget you.
John Blair, UK

From my first game beating Sheff Wed 7-1 to my last on Sunday, Highbury has been my second home. Getting up the stairs and seeing the perfect green pitch in the sun is the best thing in the world.
Adam, England

My best memory was going to see Tony Adams testimonial game against Celtic. It was in 2002 when we won our third Double and they paraded the trophies around Highbury. The whole ground was electric, an atmosphere I will never forget.
Wayne McCloat, UK

During the 1998 double season and Everton at home as the final game. When Tony Adams scored that stunning goal, everyone no matter what shape or size started hugging eachother.
Max Nolan, Wales

The night Arsenal won the league at Old Trafford, we celebrated at Highbury after the game - jumping up and down for hours on the marble steps. I realised afterwards that the pain in my foot had been caused by my breaking it on those very steps - fifth metatarsal - nightmare!
Shedzy, UK

In 1968, at 17, I was frogmarched around the pitch by a grumpy policeman for singing, along with 40,000 others, a song telling West Ham exactly what they could do with their hammers! It was the closest I ever got to the pitch and to the bust of Herbert Chapman!
Richard Varnham, England

Our first visit to London with our Under-18 school team from Galway, Ireland. Denis, Tommy and I took the tube to Highbury to see the legends we often watched on TV but it wasn't quite what we expected. The pitch was white, the ball was yellow, the pork pies were cold, it snowed throughout and we got properly lost on the way back to the hostel. I'll never forget it though.
Dave Rohan, Ireland

I think the 4-0 win over Everton that sealed our title win in 1998. It had been an amazing season, one beyond our wildest dreams. Two brilliant Overmars goals, and then Tony Adams rounding it off with a wonderful volley in front of the North Bank.
Scot Morrison, england

I recall the 1980 Cup Winners Cup semi-final against Juventus, halfway up the North Bank, unable to move a muscle amid almost 60,000 that night. Betega felled O'Leary with a shocker but justice was done when he equalised with an own goal! Most extraordinary atmosphere and most exciting draw ever. Unforgettable memories.
Nick C, UK

My magic moment was seeing Arsenal defeat Anderlecht 3-0 in 1970 in the European Fairs Cup final, second leg. It was the first trophy we had won for years and my Dad, who was then 50, ran on to the pitch to celebrate. Much to his delight, the tannoy speaker suddenly announced "Off the pitch boys, off the pitch." My Dad took that as a compliment!
Ian Jennings, Kansas City USA (ex-pat)

The game I did not get in to see. February 1958, Manchester United were the visitors. I waited for a friend at the old Empire Finsbury park, he was at the Astoria. By the time I found him and we got there, the gates were closed. A week or so later that Manchester United team was victim to the Munich Crash. The one chance I had to see those Busby Babes was lost.
John Murray, Canada

I was five in 1964 when my grandfather first took me to Highbury for a reserve game. He gave me an old penny to buy a programme, I looked out on the pitch and declared I like the red ones. I still do!
Steve Brassett, England

Just seeing the ground for the first time as a seven-year-old in 1953 - WOW!!!!!!
Martin Feld, UK

Standing (yes kids, standing!) amongst over 50,000 noisy fans on uncovered corner of North Bank in pouring rain, eating a small lump of cold random meat in soggy pastry (cleverly described on wrapper as pie) watching Gus Caesar (cleverly described on match programme as footballer) during a 0-0 - LOVED IT.
Stewart Campion, England

Seeing Henry orchestrate a come back against Villa after being 2-0 down at half time: he raced towards the North Bank, slotting it past Schmeichel in the typical Henry manner - a celebration to match too! A masterclass!
Rajiv Shah, England

Memories, memories...three stand out - my first match, 1969 vs Sheff Wed 0-0. Lousy game but I was hooked forever! The 1970 Fairs Cup final win vs Anderlecht - a truly magical night. Then 62,000 jammed into Highbury vs Chelsea in the double year - seems unbelievable now
Paul Stott, UK




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: Arsenal prepare to leave Highbury



SEE ALSO
Highbury farewell photos
04 May 06 |  Photo Galleries
End of an era
04 May 06 |  Arsenal
Liam Brady on Highbury's magic
04 May 06 |  Arsenal


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