The Highbury Moat At Arsenal On This Day, 28th June 1971

It wasn’t quite a moat in the traditional sense although football pitches surrounded by water filled with crocodiles might have been a novel way of curtailing hooligan activities. Certainly more innovative than Ken Bates electrified fence plan. What made the Chelsea chairman’s idea worse was that it being applied to the whole of the ground – including the home fans – which showed how low his relationship with supporters had sunk. Still, The Shed deserved such contempt at the time and Bates is nothing if not consistent, alienating  Leeds United supporters through his current running of the club.

During the 1970s and beyond, Arsenal resisted introducing fences at Highbury. The club’s rationale was crystalised by Ken Friar in the 1980s as being, “if you treat supporters like animals, they will behave as such”. Frequently the board are criticised today for their stewardship of the club but credit should be given for their thinking in this and other areas during the previous decades.

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