OK, we know that the whole of last season was the Final Salute to Highbury and those of you at the Wigan game have already said your goodbyes but the famous old building deserves just one more reflection. Arsenal.com editor Richard Clarke grew up in a house called 'Highbury'. Here's his last, final, ultimate, never-to-be repeated tribute.

For most of last season, you could see the imposing features of Emirates Stadium from the East Stand upper tier at Highbury. It was almost as if the new building was sitting on the shoulder of the West Stand just letting it know it was there and about to take its place.

As construction continued you knew the last days of Highbury were drawing near. Of course, there were helpful hints during games - the Final Salute activities, two countdown clocks, 11 men not wearing red-and-white on the pitch - but still you could not believe that football at Highbury would soon be no more.

There is still a little bit of denial in my head to be honest. Arsenal.com has had a whole microsite devoted to Emirates Stadium for three years now and we have been to the ground on countless occasions but, at the same time, these words are being written from an office in the famous East Stand. Club staff move to a new building later in the summer so the Highbury era is not quite over yet.

Similarly, there is a steady trickle of supporters taking a lunchtime detour to Avenell Road just to get that final, final look. You can see them out of the office windows. Typically they walk up and down, linger outside the main steps for five minutes, take a few snaps and then sigh deeply before wandering back to the tube station.

Every Arsenal fan will have a similar mixture of emotions when the new fixtures come out this week. After seeking out the dates for Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea they will try to get their head around the fact these games will be played at Emirates not Highbury.

But is it possible to be so emotionally attached a building? Actually let's re-phrase that. Is it sane to be so emotionally attached to a building?  Given the outpouring of sentiment and passion after the final whistle on May 7, the answer to the first question is quite obviously yes.

Our new home will be a special, special place but Highbury is unique, as are the personal memories we have invested into it.

For what it is worth here's a few of  mine at random - the grand symmetry in the East and West Stands, the marching Police Band, hotdogs from a cart outside the ground, the banter between the North Bank and the Clock End, having undersoil heating years ahead of its time, the old schoolboys enclosure in front of the East Stand, my Dad, the way the North Bank used to rush forward in a wave of people when Arsenal scored, peanut sellers, double parking on Elwood Street, queuing to get into Arsenal tube station and walking to Finsbury Park because I was far too impatient to wait.

Better stop there.

However even those rose-tinted reflections can not contradict the fact that Highbury is too cramped for the needs of a top European football club. Arsenal's aspirations are simply bigger than the ground that has nurtured them. 

The run to the Champions League Final lifted the Club to a whole higher echelon and this move is a part of making that permanent.

Still, like millions of others, I will miss Highbury.

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
19 Jun 2006