Arsenal plan celebrations to mark 100 years in borough

Cliff Bastin (Arsenal) in 1932

Cliff Bastin (Arsenal) in 1932 - Credit: Archant

With a new Premier League campaign about to kick off, Arsenal are ready to celebrate the season that marks 100 years since they came to Islington.

Workers on the old stand at Highbury in 1936

Workers on the old stand at Highbury in 1936 - Credit: Archant

When the poorly-supported and all-but bankrupt Woolwich Arsenal made their way north of the river in 1913 King George V was on the throne and the first shots had yet to be fired in World War One.

But following the arrival of legendary manager Herbert Chapman in 1925 the club dominated the English game and laid the foundations to become one of the biggest names in football.

But off the pitch, the Gunners quickly became part of Islington life, from early contributions to the Islington War Memorial Fund and the great Northern Hopsital in Holloway Road, to the jobs and homes created when the club moved to their new Emirates Stadium in 2006.

This season, it intends to pay its respects to the borough that embraced it through a range of events.

During the recent Emirates Cup, which saw Arsenal pitted against Galatasaray, Porto and Napoli, almost 2,000 tickets were given away, many to Islington schools and charities.

And in the autumn, fans can find out more about the club’s history in the borough when Islington Museum, in St John street, Finsbury, hosts a special 100 Years of Arsenal exhibition.

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In addition, there will be a special event for local dignitaries at the home game against Stoke City on September 22 – the nearest date to the first match at Highbury, which saw the Gunners beat Leicester Fosse 2-1 on September 6 1913.

Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s chief executive officer, said: “As a club, we are immensely proud to be part of the Islington community and we will be forever grateful to the borough for welcoming us into the area all those years ago.

“I doubt Henry Norris, the chairman who engineered the relocation, could have believed his actions would lead us to where we are today – in the magnificent Emirates Stadium after so many wonderful years at Highbury.

“The club’s commitment to the community remains as strong as ever. We look forward to celebrating throughout 2013/14.”