Fond Farewell To Hallowed Turf

Scott Hammond  

One of Britain's finest football stadiums was given a 'final salute' on Sunday as the ground in  the capital played host to its last ever game.

A hat-trick from Arsenal's star striker Thierry Henry gave Highbury the best possible send off as he helped his side to a 4-2 victory over Wigan Atheletic. Even for me as a Brentford football team supporting bystander, it was hard to hold back the tears for a stadium that has had so many of the world's greatest players grace its hallowed turf, such as Ian Wright and Liam Brady.

Thierry Henry
 Henry symbolically kissed the ground after netting his third goal and said after the game: "That was the perfect send-off."

As the shrill final whistle blew, the celebrations began with a magnificent array of fireworks ascending into the sky. Players and fans alike stayed for hours after the game to say their emotional goodbyes to Highbury which will be replaced with the Middle Eastern airline-sponsored  'Emirates  Stadium' in Ashburton Grove nearby, next season. Luxury apartments, surrounding the 'largest private garden in north London', are being built at the old ground.

Arsenal now have a new 50,000 seater venue elsewhere in Islington. But, for me and hundreds of thousands of other football fans, Emirates Stadium will never quite have the same ring of fame and fortune as Highbury.