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21 Feb 24 19:47
Date Joined: 01 Mar 08
| Topic/replies: 60,019 | Blogger: tobermory's blog
Added 12,000 to the capacity in 10 years.

In the late 80s from what I recall Highbury capacity was 56,000 while Anfield was 54,000.

Arsenal owners managed to shrink it to 38,000 and finally had to abandon it altogether Sad

FSG must be one of the few ownership groups that the fans can realy have no complaints about. But I expect there are always a few still.
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Report scandanavian_haven February 21, 2024 8:23 PM GMT
didn't Arsenal shrink their capacity like everyone else because of all seater stadia requirements, not sure where else they could have fitted in more seats in that stadium given how tightly packed the streets are around the ground

the real question is why did they build the Emirates so small, could have had a much bigger stadium and filled it given it's location and city population along with the tourists. Now it plays second fiddle to Tottenham's which whilst similar sized, is a better stadium.
Report tobermory February 21, 2024 8:41 PM GMT
Highbury & Anfield both in heavily built up areas. And both had to go all seater.

I thought the design of the new stands for the North Bank and Clock end restricted the capacity. The old North Bank was enormous and you could have had a stand with a lot more seats.

My view is David Dein thought huge, 50k+ crowds were a thing of the past. Attendances had been declining relentlessly for 40 years and he figured 38,000 would be the biggest crowd anyone would get for a club match. At the same time he introduced 'the bond scheme' which was designed for a future where you would have fewer match going fans but they would be richer and pay more.

Dean was quite a visionary in some ways - appointing Wenger etc- but he never saw the resurgence of popularity in English football coming.
Report unitedbiscuits February 21, 2024 8:42 PM GMT
Pre-Hillsborough. There were a few scary situations for fans leaving the North Bank after a big game with a 50k plus gate. I remember being pressed by queue jumpers towards Arsenal station until the low wall into someone's front garden collapsed under me. Luckily the crowd pulled back.
Report scandanavian_haven February 21, 2024 8:44 PM GMT
wasn't Dein one of the pioneers of the Premier League,
Report unitedbiscuits February 21, 2024 8:44 PM GMT
*low front garden wall* /\
Report tobermory February 21, 2024 8:49 PM GMT
He was, but he felt increased revenue would come from more TV money and executive boxes.

He didn't forsee that Arsenal would be able to sell 50,000+ tickets for every home game. So he believed 38,000 capacity was fine.
Report scandanavian_haven February 21, 2024 8:54 PM GMT
as I recall, he wanted to leave Highbury and move to Wembley, talk about taking the heart out of a club by moving to a completely different area
Report tobermory February 21, 2024 9:00 PM GMT
It became apparent late nineties that the redevelopment of Highbury was a failure.

Dein's vision of fewer fans paying more had been trumped by other clubs who had more fans paying more (because they had gone all seater without much loss of capacity, or even managed to increase it)

So Arsenal player champions league games at Wembley and started looking for a new site.
Report lurka February 22, 2024 9:41 AM GMT
Dein was right. Matchday revenue is dwarfed by both commercial and broadcasting and has been for some time. To say he never saw the resurgence in popularity of English football coming is complete nonsense. He was the father of the Premier League and saw how popular it could become before anyone else.
Report tobermory February 23, 2024 12:22 AM GMT
I agreed that he was a visionary in terms of seeing that much more could be made from TV and merchandizing.

But he didn't forsee clubs being able to fill 50,000 seats for every game or else the stadium development would have been different.

And if it didn't matter anyway why did he decide to move?
Report tobermory February 23, 2024 12:26 AM GMT
Dein in 2004

'You can't keep on punching above your weight,' he says. 'Of course it's very sad to leave Highbury, it's home. But if we want to compete with the best we cannot remain. Staying at Highbury means settling for being an average club. You become a big club by history. You have to build it up; it's not one win or one season.'

Obviously it is a heavy burden financially, but we had no real alternative if we wanted to compete at the top. If we want to be ambitious, the stadium is the answer. I'm not sure now that 60,000 will be big enough, if we have a successful team. We've got 25,000 people wanting to buy season tickets. You have to put a ceiling on it because otherwise you have a sterile audience. If the same 40 or 50 thousand season-ticket holders watch you every time, you don't get fresh blood. You want to bring your kids. I remember distinctly when we played Champions League games at Wembley I had fathers coming up to me, with their kids, saying they didn't think their kids would ever get the chance to see Dennis Bergkamp play.'
Report lurka February 23, 2024 10:03 AM GMT
Highbury went to 38k around the start of the PL in 93. I don't think it was a ground you could develop in the same way as similar grounds like Anfield. One of the reasons they went to Wembley was that they had to remove seats to fit ad hoardings and reduce capacity, because the pitch was tiny (deemed too small for euro 96) and couldn't be reduced. I wouldn't criticise Dein for going to 38k rather than say 50k+ when he did, not sure they'd have got approval for then or in the future either. The cost would have been prohibitive then and the ground would prob have had empty seats for years. The club was transformed a few years later when Wenger arrived and everyone wanted to watch them. Very quickly they had an immediate need for increased capacity. I don't think it was the same under 'boring' Graham when they redeveloped Highbury. Wenger's football and success was the biggest factor in more seats being needed so quickly.

I don't think you can compare that with an owner who increases capacity when there is an immediate need. Clubs aren't in the business of developing capacity when they don't have the tickets sales to justify it but might do in 5 or 10 years.
Report tobermory February 24, 2024 9:46 PM GMT
Good points Lurka
Report TheBetterBettor February 25, 2024 5:34 PM GMT
If everton go bust they could always move into their ground, again
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