English Premier League club Arsenal will be celebrating their 125th anniversary when they play domestic rivals Everton on Saturday. Supporters have been encouraged to arrive early, so as to witness a number of special moments to mark the celebration.
It has been reported that a selection of Arsenal legends will join the club's supporters, whose devotion and dedication to the club have been outstanding over the years. Many stories concerning both legends and fans are on display around the Emirates, on flags, plaques, stadium walls and benches.
Among the guests of honor will be the descendants of the club's original team, from the Dial Square armaments factory, with significant roles to play in honoring the club's founding fathers.
The great-great-grandson of the late Fred Beardsley, who sourced the club's first kit from his former team, Nottingham Forest, will join current Arsenal kit manager, Vic Akers, in setting up the dressing room, prior to kick-off.
The two great-grandchildren of David Danskin, Arsenal's founding father, will have the honor of handing over the match ball to referee Howard Webb, who will then decide the kick-off with a sixpence, to commemorate the club's founding members, each of whom contributed sixpence to buy a football for the club.
Supporters have also been told to pick up a souvenir edition of the matchday programme to stand a chance of finding one of 125 golden tickets to win one of 18 commemorative shirts worn by the squad on that historic day. A souvenir leather football is also up for grabs.
Fans will also feature in a state of the art, 360 degree, gigapixel photograph that will be capture a scene inside the Emirates, freezing that second for all time. The photograph, which will allow supporters to zoom in and see most individual supporters in the North Bank, Clock End, West Stand, the East Stand Lower and the front rows of the East Upper, will then be available 48 hours after the match on Arsenal.com and also on the club's Facebook page (facebook.com/arsenal).
In addition, as many as eleven benches and plaques that will contain fans' stories from around the country and across the globe, collected as part of the Nike 125 Project, will also be revealed near the Spirit of Highbury in the south-east corner of the stadium. There will also be anecdotes from current and long-serving manager, Arsene Wenger, as well as youngster Jack Wilshere featured among these special accounts, according to an Arsenal.com report.
Time-Schedule for the Celebration -
1.30pm: The Royal Artillery and Orchestra, which was founded in 1762, will play outside Emirates Stadium above The Armoury store.
1.45pm: The Nike 125 Project, which gave Arsenal's most zealous fans the chance to tell their story and see themselves immortalized around the Emirates stadium, will be revealed.
2.15pm: The Royal Artillery Band and Orchestra will play inside the Emirates stadium bowl.
2.40pm: The club's former playing legends will be presented to the crowd, alongside supporters.
2.50pm: A guard of honor consisting of fans and legends, along with 20 Junior Gunners.
2.59pm: David Danskin's great-grandchildren will bring out the match ball for the game and hand it over to referee Howard Webb.
3.00pm: The referee will toss a sixpence to decide kick-off.
Half-time: A presentation to Nottingham Forest.