Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has said that the Gunners left their soul at Highbury when they moved to the Emirates.
The Frenchman managed the London outfit for their final decade at their old stadium and won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups between 1996 and 2006.
He was also in charge for 12 years after their move to the Emirates but only added three FA Cup titles to the club’s collection in that period. He admitted the need for the move to a bigger stadium but misses what they left behind at Highbury.
In a chat with beIN Sports, he said: “You are always in a position when you are a football club to move forward or stay in the past. To compete with the other clubs, we had to build a new stadium. The rules had changed.
“We wanted to create the same as Highbury but we left our soul at Highbury. We could never recreate exactly. We didn’t find exactly the same atmosphere.”
It can be recalled that his final years at the club were not rosy as his tenure was opposed by some supporters.
Placards with ‘Wenger out’ written on them were a common sight at the Emirates as Arsenal struggled to compete with their rivals who were dominating the Premier League.
The Frenchman only has fond memories for the fans who visited Highbury. Wenger said:
“For me, Highbury is linked with love. Love for the period I had, the exceptional attitude of the fans, the exceptional football games I witnessed there. It’s a special place in my heart.
“At the time, we were 40 people there, maximum. Today we are 600. We knew everybody. We have moved from a business family to a big company now.
“You sit on the touchline. The supporters are very close to the touchline. When you kick a corner you can shake the hand of the first supporter. That makes you all together on the pitch.
“That togetherness, that warm feeling that you get at Liverpool today, or Everton – that’s what you miss.”