LONDON - Arsenal will be putting back the clock in more ways than one when Blackpool visit the Emirates Stadium for their first league match against the Gunners for nearly 40 years on Saturday.
For as well as renewing acquaintances with the promoted Tangerines, Arsenal will unveil a larger new version of their famous clock, a distinctive feature of the team's old Highbury ground for more than 70 years.
The clock will be positioned at roof level on the south side of the Emirates in which all the stands are being officially given the old names from Highbury on Saturday.
It will be installed at the new Clock End with the opposite stand renamed the North Bank. The stands on either side of the pitch will now be known as the East and West Stands.
Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith, who made over 450 appearances for Arsenal between 1987 and 1995, told Reuters he was delighted the clock was being installed.
"I'm really pleased," he said, "I was quite surprised and upset when they first moved to the Emirates that they didn't do it then, but it makes sense to have it there.
"I like the fact they are renaming the stands too and bringing back some of the history from Highbury. It will add some character to the stadium."
Arsenal's great manager of the 1930s, Herbert Chapman, brought the clock to Highbury.
However, his suggestion it should have a 45-minute face to show how long had been played in each half was not accepted by the FA who thought it might undermine the officials.
The clock was then redesigned with a conventional face and stood at Highbury from 1935 until Arsenal left in 2006. The original East and West Stands, listed as buildings of architectural merit, have since been converted into apartments.
Blackpool, who last played a league match at Arsenal in March 1971, when they lost 1-0, made a successful return to the top flight after almost four decades away when they scored a shock 4-0 win at Wigan Athletic last week.comments