At the start of this historic season, Arsenal Football Club put up a new wall in the fabled Marble Halls at Highbury. They invited current players to write messages of farewell to their famous old ground. Arsenal.com has taken a slightly different tack. Just before the final competitive game at this stadium, we have invited well-known people connected with the Club and the area, in whatever capacity, to pay their tribute.
We will be adding to them as the days go on.
"Highbury brings so many brilliant memories flooding back.
Personally I miss the famous glass dug outs - I spent a lot of time
in there! Best of luck to Arsenal in their new home but Highbury
will be hard to match."
Niall Quinn, player
"My first visit to Highbury would have been around 1959 or
1960 and when I walked into the dressing rooms and the marble halls
I realised how classy the place was. Arsenal's ground was way
ahead of everybody else's and it wasn't ostentatious at
all. It was built early in the 20th century but still looks
terrific right up until the present day. Thanks to all the fans,
and thanks for all the memories."
Frank McLintock, player
"It's the greatest club ground in the country and it
was my home for 43 years. Without Arsenal there would be no Bob
Bob Wilson, player
"Highbury will be, along with the Stade de France, always
the biggest and best stadium for me in terms of passion,
commitment, the link between the club and the players along with
the link between the players and the fans. It will be that way for
me until I die."
Emmanuel Petit, player
"You travel around the country and the world visiting
football stadiums and while some are bigger, some are newer and
some are architecturally superior, none has the atmosphere or the
emotional power of Highbury. It is sometimes as if the history of
football is there in front of you every week, all the feats of the
past, of a thousand games, and of a millions fans' memories.
It's immensely sad to leave, but the game has moved on and so
too have Arsenal. But Highbury will always be our true home."
Paul Chronnell, journalist (Islington Gazette, England)
"Like many journalists, I love Highbury. There is always a
warm welcome from the ladies and gentlemen who look after us and
even the squeeze to get into the press box is somehow friendly.
Having been a paying North Bank customer on the night when the
place held its lowest-ever league crowd - the match was against
Leeds and I think Arsenal fans were aghast at the standard of
performances under Billy Wright in the mid-1960s - I have seen the
stadium improve greatly during the George Graham and Arsène Wenger
eras. As for the football, I'll never forget the European
nights: Bayer Leverkusen and Juventus would be the favourites.
Thierry Henry is not a bad player. But in recent years no performer
on the pitch has deserved more credit than the groundsman Paul
Burgess. What a surface! If he can do as well at the Emirates
Stadium, plenty more super football can be expected."
Patrick Barclay, journalist (Sunday Telegraph, England)
"It is going to be like saying goodbye to an old friend. One that you have shared tremendous times with and some disappointments with, even fallen out with very briefly. But over the years the friendship has lasted and will be sorely missed."
Paul Burrell, Arsenal Stadium announcer
"There is just a special feeling as soon as you walk
through the doors of Highbury as a youngster and see the bust of
Herbert Chapman in the Marble Halls. It will be a sad day on Sunday
but we have many great, great memories of Highbury and hopefully
we'll have many more in the new stadium."
Charlie George, player
"Highbury? My favourite ground in England and not just
because, thanks to Arsène Wenger, it has been the scene of some of
the finest football you could have seen anywhere in the world for
the last decade. There are bigger, brasher and certainly louder
places to watch football but none where you could imagine wanting
to live for years to come."
Matt Dickinson, journalist (Times, England)
"Sunday will be a highly emotional day for everybody linked
with Arsenal whether as a player,supporter or employee.We will all
think of what has passed at this fantastic stadium and have our own
special memories. Mine are simply that I was given the opportunity
to represent the club and I will be forever grateful to have
spent those years at Highbury."
Sammy Nelson, player
"I will always remember the first night I entered Highbury:
it was a UEFA Cup game against Auxerre in the mid 90's. I
hardly watched the game, I was so taken aback by the ambiance, the
architecture, the fans. I was in the Temple. I smelled football
Xavier Rivoire, journalist, (France Football)
"Picture the scene, Nick Hornby's incredibly accurate
description of the emotions he went through on his first ever visit
to Highbury, especially on taking his seat for the match. I am sure
I'm not the only one who's experience mirrors his
perfectly. There can be very few places in life that after 30 years
still bring a tear to the eye. Although I will try hard to hold
them back, I'm sure those very tears will flow for one last
time on Sunday. My home from home and the one and only place
that allows me to completely forget the problems life throws up.
Leaving for the last time will be one of the hardest things I have
ever had to do."
Frank Stubbs, Arsenal.com Fan's Diarist
"Everybody knows about the Marble Halls and the underfloor
heating in the dressing rooms. These sorts of things impress you.
You are bowled over by the history of the place when you walk
through the doors."
"My main memory of Highbury will be winning the Fairs Cup.
I was only a kid then but up to that point it was all about what
the great sides of the 30s had done. It was such a high that the
players who had come through the ranks could put the old
"It had a certain aura and the Marble Halls were very
impressive. It has always been a grand place, shall we say. When I
was there the atmosphere was great. I always had a great rapport
with the crowd."
"When I came to Highbury, [manager] Billy Wright met me at
the front step. I was a 21-year-old student going through the
Marble Halls and everything was Art Deco. He took me on a tour and
did a very clever things. He left going down the tunnel and out on
the pitch until last. When I walked out my mouth almost dropped
open. I was amazed at the height of stand that had been built as
long ago as 1933 and 1936. I still say to people it was not a
football ground to me it was cathedral. It is still a cathedral to
me. It is one of the most magnificent buildings."
"There have been so many games there, particularly under
floodlights. I am totally biased. Once an Arsenal man, always an
Arsenal man, I say but the people have made it the way it is. It
was a sheer delight to work with such wonderful people."
"When I was a kid, one day we got a knock on the door from
an Arsenal scout. He invited me down to Highbury and I went on my
own, the first sight I got was from the train."
"I first walked into Highbury in May 1973 and I fell in
love with the place straight away. I am very proud to have played
"I have been playing for Arsenal Ladies since 1996 and have
had some very memorable experiences both playing and watching games
at Highbury. I am lucky to say that I have won the league on this
hallo turf and that this unique stadium has been the teams venue
for training over the years and I couldn't have ask for a more
inspiring backdrop to motivate me to achieve my footballing
Faye White, Arsenal Ladies and England captain
"Thanks to Archibald Leitch, Highbury remains one of the
great homes of English football."
Mark Perryman, London England fans representative
"When I remember Highbury I think about my father taking me
down there as a youngster and hearing all the grown men swearing
around me on the terraces! I was brought up down the road in
Islington and it will be a shame when Arsenal leave there, although
the new stadium looks great. I'm going to try and get to Paris
for the Final, I fancy us to win it."
Phil Tufnell, cricketer and fan
"It has always been a pleasure to work with Arsenal as it
first became of immense Swedish interest during Anders Limpar's
heyday, followed by the short stay of Stefan Schwarz and all the
excitement - past and present - around Freddie Ljungberg. I'll
miss Highbury and the surroundings greatly, as I took its genuine
footballing atmosphere to my heart from my first visit in the
Henrik Skiöld, Football correspondent - TT (Sweden)
"My first time at Highbury was Chelsea's first game
after winning promotion to the old First Division - it was a
morning kick-off, the ground was packed and I was playing against
one of idols, Pat Jennings. As a coach it will always hold special
memories. When you walk into the ground and see the bust of Herbert
Chapman, the history and nostalgia of the old place hits you.
Arsenal will always be a special club to me, I wish everyone there
well and all the best for the Champions League Final."
Eddie Niedzwiecki, Blackburn and former Arsenal coach
"Highbury is a great stadium and will always be special for
Arsenal fans. The club have moved with the times and it could be
wonderful that a club with class could move to their new stadium as
Paul Hetherington, chairman, Football Writers Associations (England)
"What I find about the Club is that it's like a little
community. There's a really friendly environment, regardless of
whether it's a matchday or a normal working day when the staff
are there. Everyone knows everyone, from the security guards on the
door to the directors. I have so many good memories of Highbury,
and I guess the best one is winning the league there. The men's
team had just played their game and many of them stayed behind to
watch our game from the stands."
Emma Byrne, Arsenal Ladies goalkeeper
"It's a shame to say goodbye to Highbury which is a stadium steeped in history and the scene of so many great Arsenal victories - and from my sport Muhammad Ali v Henry Cooper. It would have been my dream to fight for the world title at Highbury but perhaps I can be the first to do it at Emirates Stadium." Danny Williams, Commonwealth heavyweight boxing champion and fan
"Highbury is special, it always has been, so when the final
whistle blows on Sunday it will be a very strange feeling. The
memories are sure to come flooding back: making my debut against
Liverpool in front of 55,000, celebrating our title win in 1991 and
racing up to the top of the old North Bank in training on a
Tuesday. Unforgettable times at an unforgettable place."
Alan Smith, player
"What an honour and a privilege to have played at such a
special and unique stadium. Wonderful memories from sweeping
the terraces as a trainee (and running up and down them!), the
feeling of scoring a goal there, watching and playing in big games,
European nights and the list goes on. Thanks for the memories that
I'll treasure forever. Wish I could have been there for the
Steve Morrow, player
"I have nothing but magnificent memories of my time at
Highbury. Unlike many grounds, Highbury has remained a wonderful
stadium; still stylish, stately and atmospheric. It will forever be
remembered as the greatest architectural stadium built in England.
I will miss it but never forget it."
Stewart Robson, player
"It is the end of the Highbury era, so many fantastic
memories. I am sure we will do as well at the new
Frank Warren, boxing promoter and fan.
"It is my favourite place in the whole wide world. Whenever
I think of Highbury I will think of happy days, and life-long
Amy Lawrence, journalist (Observer, England)