Arsenal – probably the best thing to come out of Woolwich since the South Circular. Maybe even the ferry too. But has that got anything to do with Boro’? Well, yeah – sort of. After all is said and done, the Gunners are on our list of clubs that we ‘played’ at some point. Both of us go about things in two very different worlds, however. We always have done. The Gunners, of course, are more bothered about hitting the top end of the Premier League. It’s a little further than Boro’ have – so far – managed to get, if we’re being honest with ourselves. But we tell you this for nowt: they’ve never won the Conference.
Arsenal: The Facts
Highbury House, 75 Drayton Park, London, N5 1BU
First, let’s insult your football intelligence by reminding you who the Gunners are. And their place in the grand scheme of things while we’re at it. Up there with England’s most famous club sides, it all started for ’em in October 1886 as Dial Square. One month later, their name became Royal Arsenal. Then, in 1893, they decided to call themselves Woolwich Arsenal. Now, that brings us up to date with the name changes and that.
One thing we didn’t know is that Arsenal were the first southern team to join the Football League. But life in south east London wasn’t kind to them at the start – and it nearly did for them in 1910; the club on the brink of going bust. It saw new owners come in and decide to take the Gunners to a new home in 1913 – Highbury. It also meant another change of name too; the Woolwich prefix kicked into touch.
Oh, it started the long-running rivalry with Spurs too; not helped by the Football League’s decision to promote the Gunners into a bigger Division One at the expense of Tottenham. With little twists of fate like this, who knows how things could’ve turned out differently. As they did, however, the club went onto dominate English football during the 1930s. It’s just the start of a trail of titles and silveware that litter the years and decades to follow.
Why do we know Arsenal?
In many ways, we have no reason to know the Gunners. Not since the 1914-15 campaign have they played outside the top flight. It’s quite some record, to be fair. Boro’ had to start much further down the pyramid when we formed in 1976. More clubs being around wasn’t helping that. But it does mean our path to the top is still ongoing (and dragging itself out, if we’re being honest). So, the only real reason we’ve ever had to know the Gunners to date is in the friendlies we used to fix up.
How to get to Arsenal – Travel Information – Distance: 30 miles
We’re not sure too many will feel compelled to drive from Stevenage to Arsenal, but if you do, you’ll need to head south on the A1(M) and A1 well into the capital. And remember to stay on the A1 when you encounter the A406 North Circular Road, as this is not your standard junction.
Once you get to Archway, take the first left at Archway Corner for St John’s Wy to head up past Hillside Park to the left. At the end of the road, turn right into Hazellville Road and follow the road around to the left. Turn right onto the A103 Hornsey Road and this will take you down to the Emirates.
Parking is scarce in the area. It is London, after all! There is an extensive residents’ only scheme in place, and you’ll do well to find anywhere close to the ground. That’s one of the main advantages of using the train or tube to make your journey.
Station: FINSBURY PARK
Services to: STEVENAGE
You could well entertain the idea of using Drayton Park on the Moorgate branch as your station of choice, but we find it easier to use Finsbury Park; not least as Drayton Park is closed on weekends.
Exit Finsbury Park station and turn right so that the Arsenal store is on your right. Go across Seven Sisters Road and down St Thomas’ Road, passing the mosque on your right. At the end of St Thomas’ Road, turn right to pass Arsenal tube station and follow Gillespie Road around to the right.
The bridge across to the Emirates Stadium soon appears on the right.
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