Arsenal Football Club would like to welcome everybody to today's opening fixture of the 2006/07 season and the first competitive match at Emirates Stadium. We all look forward to many successful and enjoyable years at our new home.

On page 14 of today's matchday programme you will find a special message to all supporters from the Arsenal Football Club Board of Directors.

Arsenal Football Club would like to welcome everybody to today's opening fixture of the 2006/07 season and the first competitive match at Emirates Stadium. We all look forward to many successful and enjoyable years at our new home.

Please note that the Club's new address, following the summer move to Emirates Stadium, is now: Arsenal Football Club,
Highbury House,
75 Drayton Park,
London N5 1BU

To mark the special occasion of our first ever competitive fixture at Emirates Stadium, you will find a giant poster with your programme today, showing four different aspects of our wonderful new home. On the reverse of the poster is an Arsenal FC year planner, including all the relevant fixtures for the season ahead.

Arsenal Football Club would like to welcome everybody to today's opening fixture of the 2006/07 season and the first competitive match at Emirates Stadium. We all look forward to many successful and enjoyable years at our new home.

The Club would like to welcome Czech international Tomas Rosicky to Arsenal after he signed a long term contract in May. The midfielder has already made his debut for the Club after starting in the 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb earlier this month. To read an exclusive interview with Tomas, please turn to page 20 of today's matchday programme.

Congratulations to Theo Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Alex Hleb and Robin van Persie who all scored for their respective countries in the mid-week internationals. Theo marked his debut for the Under-21s with a header as England held Moldova 2-2 at Portman Road on Tuesday, August 15. Nicklas scored Denmark's first as they beat Poland on Wednesday, Alex scored the first goal in his country's 3-0 win over Andorra and Robin was one of Holland's four scorers against Republic of Ireland on the same night. Information on the other matches played during the week will feature in the Country File page in the Dinamo Zagreb matchday programme on Wednesday.

Arsenal Football Club bade farewell to its Charity of the Season, the David Rocastle Trust, last week as the Gunners announced the partnership had raised over £150,000. The Trust, an initiative founded in memory of the Arsenal legend, who lost his battle to cancer in 2001 at the age of just 33, proved a popular cause amongst Arsenal fans who contributed to the season's partnership in a variety of ways.

The initiative saw many exciting awareness and fund raising events during Arsenal's final season at Highbury including Arsenal legend, Michael Thomas' Flora London Marathon run in aid of the trust, football tournaments held in Rocky's name and proceeds from the Highbury Auction contributing to the final total. Arsenal's match against Aston Villa on April 1 was dedicated to 'Rocky' and amongst a whole host of fundraising activities, a rousing minute's applause was held by everyone inside Arsenal Stadium before kick-off. This event was followed up a month later with the Arsenal Charity Ball which hosted legends, including Ian Wright, who paid tribute to David Rocastle and helped raise over £60,000 for good causes including the Charity of the Season.

The charity was established to assist David's family, support community projects in 'Rocky's' name and assist nominated charities, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and Cancer Research UK.

The final chapter in the partnership came earlier this month as Arsenal announced that its indoor sports facility at Hale End in Walthamstow was to be named after David Rocastle, a befitting legacy as 'Rocky' himself came through the youth ranks at Arsenal, alongside players including Michael Thomas and Martin Keown.

Today's game at Emirates Stadium will be the first played in front of a capacity crowd. It has been reported that the stadium can hold 60,000 exactly. However, you may be interested to know that the actual figure is 60,432. This is divided in the following ways: Lower Tier 24,425, Upper Tier 26,646, Club Level 7,139 and Box Level 2,222.

Four young Arsenal players have temporarily left the Club on loan with, Nicklas Bendtner, Fabrice Muamba, Sebastian Larsson and Kerrea Gilbert all being recruited by Championship clubs.

Striker Nicklas Bendtner along with midfielders Fabrice Muamba and Sebastian Larsson have all joined Steve Bruce's Birmingham City in the Championship. Bendtner will stay until January, while the latter pair will spend the whole season at St Andrews. Bendtner marked his debut for Blues with the winning goal in the 2-1 win over Colchester. Also spending the season in the Championship is England youth defender Kerrea Gilbert. He will play for Cardiff City during 2006/07, and started each of their first three games of the campaign.

There are expected to be other loan deals finalised for our young players in the near future.

Young Gunner Ryan Smith joined Derby County earlier this month in a permanent deal. The 19 year-old midfielder enjoyed a loan spell with Championship side Leicester City last season making 19 appearances in total. For Arsenal, Ryan made six first team appearances while regularly appearing for the reserves. Having represented England at Under-19 and Under-20 levels, Ryan took part in the first ever game at Emirates Stadium during the summer, playing in the first-half of Dennis Bergkamp's testimonial match. Everyone at Arsenal Football Club would like to wish Ryan the best of luck for the future.

Congratulations to both Jens Lehmann and Thierry Henry for earning inclusion in FIFA's All Star Squad following the end of the World Cup.

It is with great sadness that Arsenal FC reports the death of Patrick Galligan. Paddy, as he was known, not only by everyone at Arsenal, but by the countless managers and players of every opposing club that visited Highbury, sadly died very suddenly on Monday, July 31 whilst on holiday in Greece. Paddy joined our General Maintenance staff in 1976, having previously worked for the company that installed the seating in the lower tier of the West Stand . He was 'talent spotted', eventually to become the man who looked after both the Home and the Visitors Dressing Rooms. He became part of the fabric of the Club of which he was so proud and which he loved dearly. Paddy's funeral and wake on Monday, August 13 were attended by hundreds of people. Many members of his family and many, many people who were proud to have called Paddy a friend, including Arsenal players and management from the past and the present, were there to pay their respects. He will not be forgotten by all of us that were privileged to know him, and we extend to his children, Johanna, Patrick and David, the very sincere condolences from the Directors players and staff of 'his club'.

At 2.40pm today, as the players are leaving the pitch following their warm-up, there will be a period of applause in memory of Paddy. Please put your hands together for a man who dedicated so much of his life to the Club he loved, Arsenal.

These will be available from programme sellers today for those of you who weren't able to purchase one on the day. The 'double issue' is priced at £5. Dennis's programme, like all matchday programmes, is available from Arsenal Home Shopping on 020 8342 5858.

Congratulations to Thierry Henry who was awarded the prize of Arsenal.com Player of the Year. Avid Gooner Michael Prater is the lucky fan who will present Thierry with his trophy before the game.

On Sunday, September 3, Brazil and Argentina will face each other in a friendly at Emirates Stadium. For more information concerning this fixture, please turn to pages 12 and 83 of this afternoon's matchday programme.

Advance warning of disruption at King's Cross St Pancras. Supporters attending the forthcoming match against Middlesbrough on Saturday, September 9 are advised that Piccadilly Line trains will be not stop at King's Cross St Pancras station on that day. Supporters arriving at King's Cross St Pancras are advised to follow instructions that will be provided by Transport for London in the station. For further information on disruptions visit www.tfl.gov.uk. To further explore your travel options visit Arsenal.com and try the Club's new on-line journey planning tool that will provide you with all the information you need to get to the stadium by public transport from your home or work address. Visit www.arsenal.com and select 'Getting To Emirates'.

Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that the Willow Foundation is its nominated Charity of the Year to celebrate the Club's first season at Emirates Stadium. Established in 1999 by Arsenal legend, Bob Wilson and his wife, Megs, following the loss of their daughter, Anna to cancer, the Willow Foundation offers quality of life and quality time to seriously ill young adults aged 16-40 through the provision of special days. Since its inception, the Willow Foundation has organised and funded more than 1,500 special days for those living with life-threatening conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and organ failure.  Every special day is of the beneficiary's choosing and is designed to allow them to spend quality time with their family - be it a trip to London, a relaxing day at a health spa, tickets to a Premiership football match or a weekend away at a country retreat. Arsenal Manager, Arsène Wenger said: "We're delighted to be associated with the Willow Foundation and reinforce the links the Club already shares with this wonderful charity. We look forward to working closely with the Willow Foundation and celebrating our first season at Emirates Stadium with the charity and its special day recipients. We hope that supporters will continue to wholeheartedly support the Charity of the Season initiative as they have done over the past three years." Over the coming months Arsenal and the Willow Foundation will develop a programme of charitable activities - details of which will be available on both Club and charity websites and will be announced in matchday programmes and in newsletters.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
17 Aug 2006