After covering Arsenal’s former home last week, it seemed only right to bump Heritage Park, home of Bishop Auckland, back a week.
So we find ourselves at the magnificent Emirates Stadium. An arena with so much thought put into it that you struggle to believe this is just 60,000 seats plonked around a patch of grass.
There are statues everywhere – Tony Adams, Thierry Henry, Herbert Chapman – and tributes to former players on every wall. At one corner stands a team photo that includes every single player to have played for Arsenal ever. It’s remarkable.
Yet at the same time, it’s stunningly dull. The stadium itself is beautiful. Genuinely wonderful, a perfect circle towering into the sky, full of glass and steel at breathtaking angles. Every inch of it is poetry, a perfectly symmetrical piece of art.
And maybe the symmetry is where I have a problem. Once you go beyond the cladding tributes to David O’Leary and Pat Rice, the Emirates looks the same from virtually every angle. Beyond its architectural majesty, there’s nothing of interest to look at.
Any classic football ground has four different stands, full of different character, each with their own tale to tell. Sure, Arsenal might have moved the clock from the Clock End of Highbury, but other than that, you strip away the tributes and every side of the Emirates looks the same.
I can’t mark it down for that, because in fairness every inch of the ground is a testament to its past, and even on a quiet Sunday morning the area is full of tourists posing for photos and digesting the information on show for them. But compared to its predecessor, it’s a bit underwhelming, even if it is magnificent.