Arsenal bridge gap to pay tribute to Fiszman

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Arsenal have renamed the two bridges at the Emirates Stadium in honour of long-serving directors Ken Friar and Danny Fiszman, who died yesterday. The bridges, which before today were known as the ‘North Bridge’ and ‘South Bridge’, have been renamed to mark the two men’s huge contribution to Arsenal, say the club.

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood today unveiled commemorative plaques on the two bridges during a ceremony at Emirates Stadium, which was attended by the Arsenal Board of Directors, including Stan Kroenke, and Arsčne Wenger and many club employees.

Today’s ceremony was overshadowed with the death of Danny Fiszman, who passed away on Wednesday, following a long battle with illness. Danny was 66. Danny, who joined the Board of Directors in 1992, was a much loved and respected figure at the Club and will be deeply missed by his many friends and colleagues at Arsenal.

The club says it was Danny’s instruction to continue with the event and therefore the club honoured its dear friend’s wish. As well as serving on the board for a combined total of more than 55 years, Friar and Fiszman led the project team in the successful move from Highbury to the new stadium.

The pair were the driving force behind delivering the new stadium on time and within budget in July 2006, during a project which took many years of hard work and dedication. Hill-Wood said: “These two men have had a huge impact on Arsenal Football Club. This is a small way of recognising their efforts and ensuring their passion and commitment to this great football club will be remembered through time.”

The North Bridge, which joins Emirates Stadium to Drayton Park, close to Arsenal tube station, has been renamed ‘The Ken Friar Bridge’ in tribute to Club Director Ken Friar OBE. Ken Friar (76), has worked for Arsenal since 1950. Starting his Arsenal career working in the Matchday Ticket Office, he became Club Secretary in 1973.  Ten years later, he was promoted to Managing Director, a position he held until 2000, when he took on the role as co-ordinator of the stadium move.

The South Bridge, which contains the iconic giant ‘ARSENAL’ letters at one end, has been renamed ‘The Danny Fiszman Bridge’, Life-long Arsenal fan Fiszman, a highly successful businessman, was a leading influence since joining the board in 1992. The renaming of the bridges at Emirates Stadium is another development in the club’s drive to celebrate its rich history. This has included illustrating key players  and events on walls and displays designed to turn Emirates Stadium into a visible stronghold of all things Arsenal.

However, many supporters still don’t feel at home at the Ems — I have loads of mates who went every game at Highbury and now watch the game in the pub near the ground. Still, all in all a good, positive move and a fitting tribute to two great Arsenal fans and servants.

 

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