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Arsenal moved to Highbury for the 1913-14 season, the ground had a grandstand on the east side and terraced banking on the other three sides. The stadium was designed by Archibald Leitch who was one of the leading engineers in the field. While some grounds designed by Leitch remain partially intact, such as Villa Park in Birmingham, his original stand at Highbury was replaced in 1936 leaving no trace of his former work except the banking for the North Bank & Clock End terraces. Highbury and Arsenal played leading roles in the 1939 film The Arsenal Stadium Mystery. Under the leadership of Herbert Chapman, manager from 1925-1934, the club had their first success at the top level and in 1932 opened the West Stand. This Art Deco masterpiece had state of the art facilities for the time as well as nice touches such as terrazzo floors and exquisite exterior detail. The new stand made the original East Stand by Leitch appear somewhat of a poor relation and in 1936 the Art Deco East Stand replaced the 23 year old structure. Sadly, Chapman never lived to see the West Stand completed as he passed away suddenly in January 1934. Highbury was a regular neutral ground choice for the FA Cup semi-finals, hosting 12 between 1929 and 1997. The period from 1985 through to 1991 Highbury was banned from hosting FA Cup semi-final matches because the club refused to put perimeter fencing in place between supporters and the pitch. Such fencing was standard reaction to hooliganism and while Arsenal had their share of hooligans the club never took the step to add fencing. Highbury hosted international football & rugby, preliminary matches for the 1948 London Olympic football tournament. Highbury played host to the 1966 World Heavyweight Boxing title fight between Muhammad Ali and Henry Cooper. Highbury was taken over for use by the Ministry of Defence during the Second World War forcing Arsenal to play any wartime matches and post-war matches into 1946 at other London venues. Regulations and community opposition to expansion led Arsenal to seek a new ground and the 2005-2006 season was Highbury’s last. The stadium was a magical place, beautiful outside and in with an award winning pitch and fantastic atmosphere but the game and business changed and a capacity of <39,000 wasn’t going to keep Arsenal at the top. The team moved but the listed East and West stands remain, albeit with their seating and such accoutrements removed, as part of a housing development.
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