Arsenal director Ken Friar laid a wreath at Highbury on Monday in memory of the late Muhammad Ali.
The club’s iconic former ground hosted the world heavyweight title fight between Ali and Henry Cooper on May 21, 1966. A crowd of 46,000 filled Highbury to see the fight, three years after Ali won their previous bout in five rounds at Wembley. Ali won at Highbury too, this time in the sixth, and Mr Friar – who helped organise the fight – said the club was keen to pay tribute to the man known as ‘The Greatest of All Time’.
“No one deserves it more – I felt very emotional laying the wreath,” Mr Friar told Arsenal Player. “The fight was probably one of the most momentous evenings ever. It was an electric night, the weather was great and we had everybody there.
“We had all the film stars in, we had George Raft, Diana Dors, Rocky Marciano – it turned out to be an amazing evening, especially with the way the fight turned out. Poor Henry, who I became very friendly with in later life, was cut to pieces but there was hardly a mark on Muhammad Ali.
“I met Ali – I was very fortunate there. He was awesome in a word, he had charisma beyond belief and everything about him exuded fame.”