Capacity At The Grove

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There’s much to talk about today, but I thought I’d bypass the flurry of Arsenal news to talk about something entirely unimportant, trivial in the extreme even: the capacity of our new stadium.

I’ve been wondering for a while – my mind is a fount of creative thought – whether the capacity of Emirates Grove is exactly 60,000, or whether it’s a teeny bit more.

Had I been the architect, I’d have added two or three hundred more places, for the simple reason that you’re then more likely to reach the magical 60,000 mark that way. Let’s be honest: If the capacity is 60k on the nose, we’ll never ever nail it on the head, and that seems a great shame from a psychological point of view.

Highbury’s capacity is supposedly 38,500, but I don’t recall more than about 38,200 ever being there since rebuilding was finished in 1993. There will always be some people who can’t make it, and some tickets that get lost in the void.

I also doubt that every seat in Club Level – of which there are a staggering 7,000 – will be sold at the prices they are being touted at, especially as they will not be sold on a match-by-match basis. At prices ranging from £2,500 to £4,750, nobody could describe them as cheap. Fewer still would argue they are affordable.

This report from the Sunday Times suggests that Arsenal’s attempts to sell them have met with an “indifferent response”, but I guess we’ll never know how many have been sold, short of them announcing that they are sold out.

Then there are away fans. The first few home games this season were noticeable by the absence of a full away end, and that trend has not gone unnoticed elsewhere. Over exposure on TV and high ticket prices are to blame. However, I expect our away end to be full pretty much every game in our first season at Emirates Grove – the novelty of going to the best club ground in England will assure that…


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Liam's shinpad

    The end of an era for sure, but I can’t wait for the new stadium. Getting ripped off for a ticket each time I manage to pop over to the UK just ain’t funny anymore. What with Liam Shinpad junior on the way, I’m hoping that the increased capacity will mean a whole load more tickets available and at a more affordable price.

  2. Micky Budge

    i was in the reservation centre in early Feb and huge swathes of club level were reserved for ‘corporate sales’ trust me the club level seats will be sold, the only reason the club are touting round people on the waiting list is becuase that is what they agreed to do to stop us moaning at the corporates jumping the queue !

  3. Adam

    I’ve heard that the stadium has been built so that it is cheap and easy to expand so if Manchester Utd manage to expand Old Trafford to 75,000 and we have a lot of demand for seats I would be surprised to see it being expanded after a few seasons.

  4. Pedro

    Dont think so Adam. As fair as I am aware the stadium is
    not expandable :(.

    Would be great if it was, I’m not sure whether its a technical issue or due to local residents whining.

  5. RotorGoat

    I don’t see how it could be. The whole roof would have to go. I’m pretty sure the capacity is unextendable.

  6. Corny

    I guess the curves on the top tier could be smoothed off. That might bring in another 3-4k otherwise I can’t see where we could expand further. As RG said the roof would all have to go since it’s one interconnected system of trusses and besides the footprint beyond the stadium isn’t significiant enough to allow much more to be built if at all.

  7. Che

    Arsenal could only get planning permission for a 60,000 capacity.
    Whether the stadium could expanded should Islington Council change their mind is a different matter although looking at the circular design of the stadium it is difficult to see where more seats could be added.

  8. Dom

    I was at one of the planning meetings for the new stadium, and it was asked if capacity could be increased at a future point, and the reply was a definite no. As everyone else points out, the roof on it means you can’t go up any higher.

    Benfica’s new stadium – which is virtually identical – has a capacity of 65,000 but I think they have a lot less executive boxes, leaving space for more seats.

  9. vivb

    Went past the new stadium at the weekend, it looks awesome. The southern stand is almost finished, so the other half of the roof will be going up soon.

    Guess the club level tickets are based on ticket tout prices to get into the current ground. Trouble for the club is that they have such a large debt to cover to pay for the ground, much of the extra revenue will go towards that. Man Utd have always fuded their ground expansion through cash although if Glazer gets hold of them they will have significant debts.

    Selling the tickets in the new stadium would be easier if Chelsea weren’t re-writing the football map. I noticed though this season we aren’t selling out our away allocations and tickets for Cardiff are still available (lthough not on general sale yet).

  10. RotorGoat

    Ah, but that’s down to the ludicrous plan to hold the semis in Cardiff. The only reason they did that is to prepare us all for the fact that, from next year, every semi-final ever will be played at Wembley. Again, it’s all down to the extravagant cost of making it (£750m), and the FA desperately needs the revenue in order to pay it back.

    Mind you, that’s another amazing stadium. I drive past it most days.

  11. WestUpperZombie

    Regarding ticket prices Keith Edleman “assured” fans that there would be as many of the lower price bracket seats at the new stadium as there are at Highbury.
    Anybody familiar with marketingspeak will know that this translates as ” all the new seats at the Grove will be in the higher price bracket”.

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