A Rough Guide To Arsenal
Tuesday, 19th Nov 2019 13:05
Saints travel to Arsenal looking to win there for the first time in the League in three decades or so. Can they do it ? Will they ever have a better chance !
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.
Highbury has tastefully been converted into luxury flats, the atmosphere is one of peace and tranquillity and with little noise, so not a lot of change there.
The stadium itself with an overall capacity of 60,000 was the largest football ground in London, till Spurs finally got their ground open and it could drop to 3rd if West Ham get permission to use the 6,000 or so seats that have to remain empty and the only stadium in this country with four tiers, to give an example of its cost of £360 million, St Mary's five years earlier was only a tenth of that figure to build.
It's a nice looking stadium but like Spurs and West Ham it is a good stadium but a terrible football ground where the atmosphere is lost due to the high roof and general nature of Arsenal fans who are loyal but not loud.
However don't bank on it, the Bournemouth area seems to be beset by signalling problems at the moment meaning trains are cancelled or late so I would check your journey before you travel
Saints fans who travel by train for London games may have noticed something different, Super Off Peak prices used to be available all day on weekends, now since the change of franchise, Super Off Peak fares on weekends are treated no different to midweek, ie to get them you have to be on a train that arrives in London after midday and going home you cannot board a train departing Waterloo between 1600-1830 hrs, the difference in price between this ticket and an off peak fare is about £7-8 depending on what station you get on at.
So be careful when buying your tickets there is now a catch to Super Off Peak.
However a good tip is to split your journey when buying tickets, you stay on the same train, but if you get a return to Basingstoke and then a return from Basingstoke to London Waterloo (with or without travelcard) it works out cheaper.
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 matchday's 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. From Waterloo you can either take a Jubilee Line Tube to Green Park and change for the Victoria line or alternatively a Northern Line train and pick up the Victoria line at Warren Street or Euston.
Perhaps the simplest but least used route is to get a Northern Line tube to Camden Town, have a drink there and then walk the 100 metres or so to the Camden Road London Overground station, from there its only a couple of stops to Highbury & Islington.
This isn't a recommended option for a couple of reasons, firstly you 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 rigorously 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 or Richmond where they can take a district line tube and change on to the Piccadilly
The Away Section
Saints like all other premier teams are usually allocated approx 3,000 tickets in the lower tier in the South East corner for Premier League games,
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.
If you hear a metalic clanging sound do not be alarmed somebody has dropped a penny in the home sections, it is also possible to hear all the gossip from the supporters at the opposite end as they discuss work and the latest Costa to open during play.
Famous Arsenal fans include Jeremy Corbyn who has recently written to the club saying if he was in charge then he will spend £50 billion on players in the last transfer window and this can be paid with a 20p increase in pies.
Boris Johnson who if he was aware that football existed would be either an Arsenal or Chelsea fan depending on what day it was.
Mick Jagger who has tried and tried and tried but can't get no satisfaction in the queues for Beer.
Drinking Eating Etc.
Unlike West Ham there are plenty of pubs within walking distance and some of them are rumoured to sell a pint at under £5.50, although this has not been attempted in the decade or so since they moved to the ground.
The traditional pub for away fans is the same as it was at Highbury, The Drayton Arms is 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.
Finsbury Park is still popular and has a plethora of pubs and is only a 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.
Holloway Road is most definitely Arsenal fan territory and many of the pubs will be home fans only, however if you turn right out of H & I tube station and right again down Upper Street there are plenty of pubs down here which are a little less hectic and allow visiting supporters in.
From H & I tube station its only a 10 minute walk to the ground, however if you go down Upper Street it will be a little extra walking time as its in the opposite direction from the ground.
Perhaps a better option would be to take toe underground to Camden Town where there are a plethora of pubs et, from there take the overground from Camden Road station, a short 5 minute journey to Highbury & Islington station.
If anyone has any good tips leave them in the comments section below.
Photo: Action Images
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