March 13 – London (Emirates Stadium)
It was my last day in London and last days anywhere are always a mad flurry of unfulfilled activities. First up for the day was Emirates Stadium for a tour of Arsenal’s home ground. I booked the ticket the night before for £12. The tour started at 9:30 a.m. and it wasn’t too far from my hostel – just three tube stops away.
The stadium was huge and you feel really small when you are standing inside. There were only six other people on the stadium tour, a couple from Hong Kong, a couple from South Korea and the other two I think were locals. The guide brought us to the Diamond Club, which I think was an exclusive area for important people and the view of the stadium you see on the left is from the Diamond Club gallery seats. Pretty good view, if you ask me. The stadium looked good, being less than a year old.
A hot tub, but not any ordinary one. It’s one with all kinds of nutrients, minerals, and other good stuff in the water.
How could I not take one with Arsenal and England’s future star?
Arsene Wenger, Pat Rice and Gary Lewin’s seats
In the press conference room, on Wenger’s seat
My eyes now appear smaller because my cheeks have gotten bigger
The Armoury. I spent so much money here that postcards and food were the only things I allowed myself to spend on in London, Paris and Liverpool. Well, actually it wasn’t that much. But in Singapore dollars, it was a lot.
Entrance to the museum
The guys who founded the club. Yes, now you understand why “Arsenal” and “Gunners”.
Arsenal’s legendary Back Four (Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn), with special mention of David Seaman and Martin Keown.
Arsenal’s last match at Highbury when they defeated Wigan on the final day of the season to beat Tottenham to fourth place. Henry also scored Arsenal’s 4038th goal at Highbury on what was called “The Most Perfect Day in All 93 Years”.
French Connection Arsenal
The trophy that was very nearly ours. “If Barcelona’s trip to Paris seemed pre-ordained, no one had predicted Arsenal would join them there. The summer sale of Patrick Vieira had left the London club looking light in midfield and a succession of injuries meant Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger was reliant on youth. In the event, the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Philippe Senderos, Emmanuel Eboué and Mathieu Flamini showed no fear of the big stage as Arsenal took Europe by storm. The London side matched Barça’s points haul as they breezed through the group stage against AFC Ajax, AC Sparta Praha and FC Thun, then stepped up a gear to upset Real Madrid CF in the first knockout round, Thierry Henry scoring the only goal of the tie with a mazy dribble through the Merengues’ defence. Juventus were overcome in the quarter-finals before a narrow victory against Villarreal CF, the first-leg win marking the last European match at the Gunners’ historic Highbury ground, swept Arsenal to the final for the first time, also making them the first London club to ever reach the final. Jens Lehmann’s last-minute penalty save from Juan Riquelme at El Madrigal made it ten consecutive clean sheets for Arsenal who would end the competition having gone a record 995 minutes unbeaten. Lehmann himself went a competition record 763 minutes without conceding a goal, a run that not even Barcelona could break.” -UEFA website.
“Arsenal are believed to be the first club in Champions League history to have fielded 11 players of different nationality at the same time, in their 2-1 win away to Hamburger SV on 13 September 2006. The Arsenal team, after the 28th minute substitution of Kolo Touré, was:
- Jens Lehmann (Germany), Emmanuel Eboué (Ivory Coast), Johan Djourou (Switzerland), Justin Hoyte (England), William Gallas (France), Tomáš Rosický (Czech Republic), Gilberto Silva (Brazil), Cesc Fàbregas (Spain), Alexander Hleb (Belarus), Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo), Robin van Persie (Netherlands).”
Arsenal has spent the most consecutive seasons (80 and counting) in English top flight, they have the longest unbeaten run (49 matches), they have the most consecutive away wins (8) in a season, and they have the most players (7) from a single club to be in the England lineup (14 November 1934 v. Italy – the so-called “Battle of Highbury”). And seeing how Liverpool just beat Arsenal, Arsenal is also one of only four clubs to have won the Premier League, the other three are Blackburn, Chelsea and Man U. (Oh, where is Liverpool? Lost in their past.)
Nike’s congratulatory message used in national newspapers after Arsenal went through the 03/04 season unbeaten. No team managed to put an ‘L’ in their record.