Arsenal unveil statues of three legends
Arsenal Football Club has today honoured a trio of Club legends by unveiling three statues outside Emirates Stadium.
Innovative manager Herbert Chapman, defensive stalwart Tony Adams and goal scoring hero Thierry Henry have all been commemorated in bronze statues, which were today unveiled at Emirates Stadium by Arsenal Chairman, Peter Hill-Wood.
The unveiling forms part of Arsenal’s 125th anniversary celebrations, ahead of the Gunners’ home match with Everton on Saturday - which is the closest date to the Club’s first ever match. This was reportedly on December 11, 1886 when the Club, then known as Dial Square, played against Eastern Wanderers on the Isle of Dogs – a game that ended in a 6-0 victory for the new side.
A large crowd, including many specially invited Arsenal supporters and Thierry Henry himself, witnessed the unveiling of the three statues, which are located in prominent positions around Emirates Stadium.
The first statue to be unveiled was that of Herbert Chapman, who was Arsenal manager between 1925 and 1934. Chapman’s team won the league four times in five years, and his development of advanced diets, fitness and tactical approaches was revolutionary.
The direct, attacking style of players like Alex James, Cliff Bastin and David Jack, who featured in Chapman’s ground-breaking WM formation brought great success to the Club before his untimely death in January 1934 at the age of just 55. The statue of Chapman is located underneath the clock close to the Danny Fiszman Bridge and sees him looking towards the Stadium as a symbol of the Club’s progressiveness since he revolutionised the Club.
The statue of Tony Adams, which is located outside the North Bank at Emirates Stadium, is commemorating an Arsenal Legend who enjoyed a 19-year career at his only club.
Adams joined Arsenal as a trainee in April 1983 and quickly progressed through the ranks to become the Club’s captain in 1988 at the age of just 22.
During his Arsenal career, Adams made a total of 669 appearances placing him second in Arsenal’s all-time appearance records after David O’Leary. He is the most successful captain in the Club’s history, leading Arsenal to ten major honours.
The afternoon’s proceedings were concluded with Hill-Wood unveiling a statue of Thierry Henry, depicted in his famous celebration after scoring his wonder goal against Tottenham Hotspur at Highbury in November 2002. The statue of Henry is located in the south-east corner of Emirates Stadium, by the Spirit of Highbury mural.
Henry is Arsenal’s all-time leading goal scorer with 226 goals. During his eight years at the Club between 1999 and 2007 he won two Premier League championships, two FA Cups, the Premier League ‘Golden Boot’ on four occasions and the PFA Player of the Year twice. Fittingly, on May 7, 2006, he scored the last ever goal at Highbury.
Peter Hill-Wood, who was joined by Arsène Wenger at today’s ceremony, said: “This year is very special in the history of Arsenal Football Club, when we are celebrating our 125th anniversary. This is not only a good moment to look forward to an exciting future, but also to look back and celebrate great figures in the history of our Club.
“Today is a celebration of three hugely influential figures in the history of Arsenal Football Club. Herbert Chapman, Tony Adams and Thierry Henry are three Arsenal Legends who have all contributed so much to the successes of this football club.”
The Chairman concluded: “These legends are now proudly on display outside Emirates Stadium for all to see, and will provide a way for Arsenal supporters, and indeed any visitors to the stadium, to remember them and pay their own tributes to these three great men.”
Designed and created by MDM, the statues have been cast in bronze and are all life size and a half of the individuals. Having taken roughly 625 hours to create and weighing in at approximately 200kg each, the figures were painstakingly lifted into place on Wednesday, ahead of Friday’s ceremony.
On Saturday, Arsenal Football Club will be celebrating its 125th anniversary at its home match with Everton. Activities will be taking place during the afternoon including the return of many Arsenal Legends, who will be introduced to the crowd before the match.
The Club is urging all supporters to arrive in the stadium by 2.20pm on Saturday, in order to share in the celebrations.
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