Emirates Stadium is nearly ready for its much-anticipated makeover after the club unveiled seven designs that will replace the “Heroes Together” mural that has been in place for the last 12 years. An eighth design, a mammoth montage of supporters from across the decades, remains a work in progress but should be completed in the coming weeks.
The club have been working on the new artwork since April 2022 with a third-party agency hired to work alongside Turner prize winner Jeremy Deller, critically acclaimed artist Reuben Dangoor, and distinguished graphic designer David Rudnick.
Throughout the process, a supporter consultation group, aided by club staff, has provided input and feedback.
In the club’s own words, “We started with a blank piece of paper and the sole intention of working with our community to create art that would express what Arsenal means in 2023 and beyond.”
With 136 years of club history to draw upon, it’s fair to say the project grew bigger than anyone initially anticipated, so credit to everyone involved for getting it over the line.
Each of the eight designs has a different theme and careful consideration has been paid to where they will feature on the stadium’s exterior.
They include a homage to Highbury’s Art Deco East Stand, a patchwork of fan group banners that nods to the club’s worldwide appeal, a ‘welcome’ message for away fans arriving by train into King’s Cross station, and neoclassical style depictions of memorable teams and club legends, both male and female, that wouldn’t look out of place in the Louvre.
In total, there are 87 legends featured (including all 32 of the legends included in the previous artwork), while 150 supporter groups and 721 supporters are also represented. While some fan favourites from years gone by haven’t made the cut the inclusion of 50 ‘if you know, you know’ details underlines just how much thought and consideration has gone into the project. No stone has been left unturned in bringing to life the essence of The Arsenal.
Reflecting on the project, Arsenal CEO, Vinai Venkatesham said: “This has been a fantastic project enabled by so many of the Arsenal family here in Islington and across the world. We genuinely couldn’t have brought this project to life without everyone working together and giving their passion and dedication to this work.
“I express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has been involved and made this unique piece of work possible.
“The project has brought together our supporters, community, legends and staff as one. It’s a real celebration of the Arsenal community, designed for and by the Arsenal family.”
Arsenal had originally planned for the new designs to be installed during the World Cup hiatus but final tinkering meant things were delayed. As such the Emirates has been left bare for a month after the existing murals were removed. Installation of the new designs begins tomorrow, 12 January, and will continue for a few weeks.
If you can’t wait to get up close and personal with the artwork, you can visit a special exhibition at Candid Arts Trust, 3-5 Torrens Street, London, EC1V 1NQ until 4pm on Saturday.
The club continue to invest funds in other stadium improvements. Having replaced the ticket gate machines and the big screens, repairs on the roof – a significant undertaking – are ongoing. We’re also expecting a statue of a certain legendary manager to be unveiled at some point.
New Arsenal stadium artwork
To read more about the project and to watch a film charting the process behind the scenes, click here.