LONDON: Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has admitted he will have mixed feelings about the club's new stadium bearing the name of sponsors Emirates Airlines.
Hill-Wood, whose family have been associated with Arsenal since 1926, agreed that many traditional fans would have been happier to see the new stadium named in honour of an Arsenal legend.
I would be one those supporters, he said. I've been here a long time, a great many years and if we named the new stadium after Herbert Chapman or even Arsene Wenger it would roll off the tongue.
But Hill-Wood was quick to underline that he accepted the club could not afford to turn down the £100 million Emirates are putting up over 15 years.
Things have changed in football and this is a wonderful offer we have received the biggest ever in English football, the chairman said. We must move on.
The new 60,000-seat stadium at Ashburton Grove is just a short walk from the current stadium at Highbury, which is to be redeveloped as residential accommodations once the Gunners leave at the end of the 2005-06 season. AFP