The Highbury Auction - Arsenal FC Bids Farewell To Historic Home

By Jason Wood | 26 July 2006
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Photo of a smart hallway with a picture of a cannon on the floor and a bust on a plinth in an alcove

The famous bust of Herbert Chapman will be moving to the new Emirates Stadium. The halls themselves are staying put - the East Stand is a listed building.

From their first match against Leicester Fosse on September 6 1913 to their last against Wigan Athletic on May 7 2006, Arsenal Football Club has played more than 2,000 competitive games at Highbury.

The move to the Emirates Stadium, however, means the club must not only bid farewell to its English Heritage listed venue, but to all manner of fixtures and furnishings that aren’t coming to the new home.

On Saturday July 29 the imposing Art Deco grandstands and celebrated marble halls of Highbury will resound to a different spectacle as the auctioneer’s hammer comes down on over 600 lots in a huge sell-off.

"We are very excited about the Highbury Auction,” said Arsenal Managing Director Keith Edelman, “and looking through the auction list, it's amazing how many wonderful items from the stadium will be available, including my current desk, which is in fact the same desk George Graham used when he was manager of the Club!”

The first lot, appropriately No. 1913 (a nice touch), is a wooden match day display sign including the text for the first ever game. A skim through the 70-page colour catalogue reveals further gems such as a boardroom table, set of directors’ chairs and carpet (all complete with 1930s club crest).

front of an auction catalogue with an photo of the stadium exterior

The shells of both the East and West grandstands will survive and be converted into exclusive apartments Photo: Jason Wood

The real hope for the thousands of fans and memorabilia collectors expected to descend on this cherished corner of north London will be to own a piece of Arsenal history for themselves.

Quite how they will find a place in their homes for some of the more extraordinary and downright quirky items is unclear, but the red plastic wheelie bins with Arsenal insignia are sure to find a home – purchase these, the catalogue says, and ‘be the envy of your neighbours!’

What one is expected to do with the various life-size cut outs of famous players and managers is also anyone’s guess whilst the purchaser of the open-top double decker bus will have difficulty driving it home as the catalogue says it’s ‘part complete’.

Entry to the auction is by catalogue only, but Arsenal supporters and memorabilia collectors will be able to bid online and in real time against the bidders at Highbury. Full details of how to bid over the web can be found at www.highburyauction.com. The proceeds from certain lots will go to charities, including the David Rocastle Trust.

It promises to be an entertaining day.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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