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Arsenal.com:

Keith Edelman, Arsenal's managing director, has revealed that the construction of Emirates Stadium is ahead of schedule.

The Club's new home is due to open in time for the start of the 2006/07 season. According to Edelman, that target is well within reach.

"At the moment we are around three months ahead of schedule and work is going very well," he said.

"Obviously it is always good to be ahead of target at this stage, because time can sometimes be lost at the fit-out stage. At that point you will have plumbers, electricians, plasterers and decorators all coming in and if there is a delay on one thing then a lot can be held up as a result.

"But we are very optimistic that we will be completed and ready ahead of schedule."

Edelman also confirmed that measures have been taken to maintain the standards of Arsenal's current playing surface, which once again is a credit to groundsman Paul Burgess and his staff.

The stands at Emirates Stadium will be significantly higher than those at Highbury, but extensive research and substantial investment will ensure that Arsene Wenger's team grace a top-class pitch.

"The stadium roof has been designed to allow circulation of air which should help keep the pitch in a good condition," said Edelman. "Also, as it points down it will offer the supporters more protection when it is raining.

"Obviously we want to play on a pitch which is excellent condition and the likelihood is that we will be using a Desso pitch.

"These are naturally-grown pitches which grow intertwined with an artificial base just to improve the quality of the surface, toughen it up against wear and tear and reduce damage caused by things like divots."

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Exellent news, three months in advance is great. Just to think, only a little bit over eighteen months away! :D
 
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