After 93 years of playing at Highbury, it was time for Arsenal to rebirth and compete with the top global forces of football in 2006 upon moving to their new 60,000 seater stadium, ‘The Emirates.’ The last three seasons at Highbury consisted of the infamous title-winning invincible side; an FA Cup win, and a Champion’s League final with a European campaign record for the fewest goals conceded.
So what happened? Arsenal had to wait 9 whole years for their next trophy; an FA cup win in 2014. The fans were constantly reminded of every passing trophyless year by the infamous labelling of Arsenal’s latest honours surrounding the interior of the Emirates; including a hollow gap at one corner of the stadium.
Arsène Wenger insisted the stadium move would springboard Arsenal to be on the same global level as Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Instead a miserable decline in form was witnessed; the fans enduring 9 seasons of finishing fourth and minimal finances spent on recruitments. They didn’t just fail to compete with the top global forces, they relapsed. And the Emirates was the host of a rather dark period in Arsenal’s history.
The stadium has since seen some positives, a few domestic trophies and a change of manager has at least sparked some life into the club, 12 years after moving to the Emirates. Now I’m not saying the stadium is at fault for the decade long regression. However the period of transition away from Highbury was arduous, leaving Arsenal with an identity crisis; a lack of a home.
For any other clubs considering a move to a bigger, more financially rewarding stadium I pose the question; does it actually benefit the fans?