By Richard Clarke 

Progress often comes at a price. So although Arsène Wenger will be steeling himself for a poignant Final Salute to Highbury on Sunday, the Arsenal manager remains utterly sure that the move is the right one.

"It will be emotional," he said at Friday's pre-match press conference. "When we walk out there we know we cannot come back and visit again as it will be destroyed. That makes it a little bit more emotional, as you know when you walk out it's finished.

"But what convinced me [to change] was when we went to Wembley in the Champions League. It was a sell-out every time.

"I realised then that this Club has a massive support and you cannot turn it down forever. No respected company can turn away 30,000 or 40,000 people every week without trying to do something. That was unfair and I felt we had a responsibility to extend the capacity of the stadium.

"That it could happen so close to Highbury and in such a short time is a miracle. It was so complicated."

So what is Wenger's Highbury highlight?

"The first championship on that Sunday afternoon [in 1998]," he replied. "I would like to remember all the highlights; those moments when there was the same wavelength between us and the fans when we played fantastic football. There were certainly some happy moments in the game when you feel there is a real fraternity going on between the team, the players and the fans. Apart from that I admit I'm somebody who expects to win, so when I lose I remember the disappointments.

"But overall Highbury is something special for me and will remain forever something special. It's an atmosphere they can never recreate somewhere else."

Although, the Arsenal fans are sure to make a pretty good attempt at Emirates Stadium next season.

8/1 - Arsenal v Wigan - Thierry Henry to score from a free-kick

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Richard Clarke 5 May 2006