NO SMOKING AT HIGHBURY
As stated in the Wolves programme, a new smoking policy has been instigated at Highbury. Thanks to all those fans who adhered to the new rules. This evening's match is our first Premiership fixture under the Club's new policy. Below is a reminder of the Club's new no smoking stipulations:
â€¢ Smoking is banned during the game. If you want to smoke whilst the match is taking place you can only do so in public areas and concourses.
â€¢ Should someone around you not be adhering to this procedure, please bring it to a steward's attention either at half-time or at the end of the match.
â€¢ Smoking will not be permitted in any restaurant areas including the South Stand, Executive Suite and Bondholders restaurant.
â€¢ It is also worth noting at this juncture that this policy will be extended to Emirates Stadium where there will also be a no pipes/no cigars policy as well as Club Level being a strictly no smoking area. It is our intention to continually monitor and review this policy in line with social trends and government legislation.
Stadium Manager John Beattie stresses that the new policy is due to popular demand: "The Club has decided to introduce our policy of no smoking in seats during the match, due to an increasing number of regular complaints from our supporters who indicated that their enjoyment was being affected by people continually smoking close to them during the match," said John.
The Club also conducted a survey to generate information regarding this issue: "The survey targeted a significant number of Arsenal supporters and asked whether they were in favour of no smoking in the stadium. The result was that over 80 per-cent of supporters were in favour of no smoking in seated areas in the stadium," continued John.
"Currently at Highbury, our Family Enclosure has been a no smoking area for a number of years, with this decision creating absolutely no problems. We also took a poll of supporters in our Disabled Enclosure, with over 90 per-cent supporting a no smoking policy. As a result, our Disabled Enclosure has been no smoking since the start of this season.
"Overall," added John, "this is a customer care issue. We have reflected the opinions of a significant number of our supporters and this is why the policy is being introduced. From our research, supporters have shown that they are in favour of no smoking in the stadium, so I believe they will be co-operative."
ARSENAL IN THE COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Congratulations to Natalie Shanaghy who has won Arsenal in the Community's first ever Volunteer of the Year award. Natalie for the last six years has been a volunteer at Laycock Schools Double Club. Natalie will be presented with her award before the game tonight and a report on her valuable contribution to Arsenal in the Community and its Double Club programme will appear in a future programme.
Jordan Fowler made his debut for Chesterfield on Friday night, thus marking his first appearance in senior football. Jordan came on as a substitute in the Derbyshire team's 3-2 victory at Ashton Gate. Jordan is on loan with Roy McFarland's Chesterfield for an initial period of one month.
A reminder to supporters that Kolo Toure is suspended for tonight's match. He is sitting out the second of a three-match ban which expires after Saturday's game at Aston Villa.
STOP PRESS - LADIES RESULT
Arsenal Ladies progressed to the Quarter Final of the FA Cup at the weekend with a 3-1 away victory over Leeds. Julie Fleeting and Faye White scored to give Vic Akers' team a two-goal advantage before Leeds pulled one back. But with 10 minutes to go Lianne Sanderson struck to make sure the holders progressed to the last eight. They have been drawn away to Birmingham City in the next round.
PATRICK GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
Club Captain Patrick Vieira dropped in to Mill Hill School, Mill Hill last Thursday where he partook in a question and answer session with inquisitive students. The school has a close relationship with Patrick through his Diambars Institute initiative which, as we're sure fans are aware, is helping to put many Senegalese youngsters through schooling of their own in Saly, near to Dakar. The Diambars Institute's first fundraising dinner takes place this Thursday and has sold out. On behalf of Patrick and everyone at Diambars, thanks to those who have supported the event. Pictures from the star-studded dinner will appear in a forthcoming matchday programme.
CARD DISPLAY TONIGHT
REDaction, with help from the Islington Gazette and Highbury & Islington Express, has co-ordinated a red and white card display in the stadium tonight. REDaction members, kindly assisted by volunteers, have distributed 35,000 red and white cards which can be found on every Arsenal fan's seat tonight, in order to help turn Highbury red and white at kick-off. This required lots of manpower so the group would like to thank all the volunteers who helped distribute the cards throughout the stadium earlier today. Arsenal fans are requested to hold these cards aloft as the teams take to the field and during the coin toss and hopefully after an Arsenal goal. Please read the instructions on the back of each card to find out more information about entering a competition to win a signed football by the first team squad. REDaction is an open Forum, independent of the Club, and welcomes suggestions and feedback from all Arsenal fans. You can contact them by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something to contribute.
FA CUP FIFTH ROUND DRAW
The draw for the Fifth Round of the FA Cup took place yesterday with Arsenal being paired against either West Ham United or Sheffield United. The scheduled date for this will be Saturday, February 19 though TV selections could dictate that the fixture is not played on this date. Confirmation of the date will be found on Arsenal.com as soon as it is available.
FA Cup Fifth Round Draw
Bolton Wanderers v Derby County or Fulham
West Brom or Tottenham v Nottingham Forest
Everton v Manchester United
Charlton Athletic v Leicester City
Burnley v Blackburn Rovers
Southampton v Brentford or Hartlepool United
Newcastle v Chelsea
It was with deep regret that Arsenal Football Club learnt of the recent death of John 'Jackie' Henderson. Jackie joined the Gunners in October 1958 from Wolverhampton Wanderers and played 111 games over the course of the next three years, scoring 29 goals. Used as both a winger and a central striker by then manager George Swindin, Jackie made a dream start to his Arsenal career when he scored twice on his debut against West Bromwich Albion. The Glaswegian was capped seven times for Scotland, twice whilst at Arsenal, and also played for Portsmouth and Fulham. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
SPORTING HEROES' DINNER
London's sporting heroes will gather at an exclusive dinner at the Plaisterer's Hall on February 10 to help raise funds for the 2005 Lord Mayor's Appeal. The evening will be attended by Olympic medallists, footballers and other personalities from the world of sport. Every Lord Mayor has the opportunity, through the Lord Mayor's Appeal, to use his year of tenure to raise funds for charities with which he has a special personal relationship. This year the present Lord Mayor, Alderman Michael Savory, has chosen to nominate The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) - Forces Help and The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen (The Fisherman's Mission). Tickets to the Sporting Heroes dinner, which is sponsored by RAB Capital plc, can be obtained from www.thelordmayorsappeal.org or by calling the Appeal office on 020 7463 9297. Tables are priced at £1,500 for a table of ten, the evening starts at 7pm and is a black tie event.