Rio Ferdinand explains how Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium fails to live up to Highbury

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has pointed out one major design difference between the Emirates Stadium and Highbury – the former did not retain the marble walls featured within the latter.

Arsenal left Highbury in the summer of 2006 to move to the Emirates – their home ever since.

The then Arsenal chairman David Dein had initially attempted to expand Highbury in 1997, but the club were denied planning permission by Islington Council.

The Gunners then set about building a new stadium in Ashburton Grove – at an estimated cost of around £390 million.

Manager Arsene Wenger described as the move to the 60,704-seater stadium as “vital” for Arsenal’s financial future – although has since claimed the club “lost their soul” when the move took place.

He told beIN Sports: “We built a new stadium but we never found our soul – we left our soul at Highbury.

“We could never recreate it for security reasons. The distance from the pitch to the stand had to be bigger as we needed ambulances to come in.”

Ferdinand thoughts on Emirates design

Ferdinand gave his opinion on what the Emirates Stadium lacks compared to its predecessor earlier this week.

He explained on his YouTube channel: “It’s the old marble walls! When you used to walk in at Highbury, it used to just feel so grand.

“It was like a mini Buckingham Palace when you used to walk in those walls. That’s the big thing they should have done – they should have kept those marble halls somewhere in that stadium [at Emirates].

“It was part of the experience. You used to walk through those doors at Arsenal and the history just hit you. You’d think ‘we’re going to have to go some to win today boys’.

“But you lose that when it’s a brand new stadium.”

During the mid-1990s to late-2000s, Manchester United v Arsenal fixtures were some of the hardest fought on the English calendar.

In his entire playing career against the Gunners in the Premier League, meanwhile, Ferdinand came out on top seven times, drew seven and lost a further 11 games.

Featured Image Credit: Getty