Stadium News
Arsène Wenger

First ball kicked at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal Manager, Arsène Wenger, Vice Chairman, David Dein, and Club Directors were today involved in the first 'match' at Emirates Stadium, as part of a ceremony to celebrate reaching the highest point in the construction of the Club's new 60,000 capacity home.

As part of the traditionally named 'Topping Out Ceremony', Arsène Wenger helped kick off a symbolic moment at Emirates Stadium, in which Vice Chairman David Dein and Directors Ken Friar, Keith Edelman and Danny Fiszman, together with the Vice Chairman & Group President of Emirates Airline, Maurice Flanagan lined up for the 'Arsenal team' against a team of representatives from stadium contractors Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd.

Construction workers stopped work for a short time to cheer the teams on, along with approximately 150 official guests. After the 'match', guests then saw the highest point of construction marked with speeches from the VIPs, together with a giant banner being released from the roof structure high above the East Stand of Emirates Stadium.

As part of the traditions of a Topping Out ceremony, stadium contractors Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd nailed an evergreen bough in the stadium, the 'last' section of concrete was placed and a 'noggin of ale' was given to the stadium works manager.

Arsenal Director, Danny Fiszman, who has been instrumental in the Club's move to Emirates Stadium, said: "Today's event signifies a key moment in both the construction of Emirates Stadium and the future of Arsenal Football Club. Sir Robert McAlpine and all the project team should be hugely congratulated for what has been achieved to date in the building of the stadium. We are now one step closer to playing our first competitive match at Emirates Stadium in August 2006, a day we are all very excited about."

Sir Robert McAlpine Project Director, Rolv Kristiansen, said: "We are extremely pleased with the progress that has been made to date in the construction of Emirates Stadium. By completing the lifts of the roof structure recently, which was just one of the many feats we have achieved in the project, we have now reached the highest point in construction. We are looking forward to completing the construction of Emirates Stadium in time for the start of the 2006/07 season."

As construction moves into the next phase, other aspects of the stadium project are also progressing well. The Club has received an overwhelming response from supporters to the opportunities available at Emirates Stadium with all 150 Executive Boxes at Emirates Stadium now sold or allocated.

The premium seating available at Club Level, which comprises 6,700 seats offering quality hospitality and some of the best sight lines in the stadium, has also received an outstanding response. The Club originally intended to sell 4,000 Club Level seats on a season ticket basis but due to high demand, a further 1,000 seats have now been released on general sale to which sales are progressing rapidly.

David Dein gets proceedings underwayArsene Wenger sounds the horn for the banner to be dropped
The Topping Out ceremony ends with the unveiling of a banner from the East StandJust 12 months to go!
The manager poses in front of the bannerThe ceremony draws to a close

[ 23 August 2005 ]