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  • Stephan Hoogerwaard

Etihad Stadium - Manchester City

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29

Etihad Stadium Rowsley St Manchester, England M11 3FF United Kingdom

Year Opened: 2002 Capacity: 47,805


Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium

Originally featured Oct 20,2019

After playing for 80 years (1923–2003) at historic Maine Road, it was time for Manchester City Football Club to leave their outdated ground. Therefore, they decided in August 2003 to move to the new City of Manchester Stadium. In 2002, the first public event at that stadium was the Commonwealth Games (the stadium had a capacity of 41,000 at that time). Just after these Games, it became public that Manchester City would become the new tenants of the ground. With that decision, they broke the heart of their most loyal fans, but a move was inevitable to keep up with the top teams in English football.

Manchester City spent £20 million in rebuilding what was then called City of Manchester Stadium. The running track was removed, the pitch was lowered by some 6 metres, and another tier was added close to the ground (this lower tier became the 1st tier). This tier added a further 7,000 seats to the existing capacity.

Manchester City announced in 2011 a sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways. The stadium was renamed to Etihad Stadium for the next 10 years. The sheiks from Abu Dhabi didn’t buy just a new name to the stadium, though. The owner of the club, Sheikh Mansour, invested his oil dollars big time to strengthen the squad. Many top players joined Manchester City in the last couple of years, which resulted in winning the team’s first Premier League title in 2012, and the first top-flight title for the team in 44 years. Now, the main task for the club is to conquer Europe and win the Champions League. Spanish giants Real Madrid are their big example, as they have won this title already 9 times.

The capacity of the stadium is now 55,097 and features a toroidal-shaped roof that is held together by a tension system. The roof of the stadium runs all around the stadium and is lower behind both ends, giving it a spectacular view. Both stands on the long side of the pitch are almost identical by being three-tiered with a row of executive suites between the second and third-tier. The stadium also has 2 large video screens in opposite corners of the ground.

Etihad Stadium is the centerpiece of Etihad Campus that also includes the Academy Stadium, team world headquarters, an indoor pitch, and the academy building that is linked with the with the main football stadium by a 60-meter pedestrian bridge. The 7,000 seat Academy Stadium offers amenities found at major grounds including a a press room, board room, offices and retail space.

Food & Beverage 5

There is a large variety of food, including burgers, hot dogs, chips, and several pies (steak, chicken Balti, and veggie). There are multiple food kiosks offering more options of fish and chips, curry, nachos, pizza, and street food. Of course, there is also a large choice of sodas and beers available inside the stadium. A pint of beer will cost you £4 or £5, and you can choose from John Smith’s, Forster’s and Strongbow. Please note that it’s not allowed to bring beer into the stands.

Atmosphere 4

City Square has is home to the Summerbee Bar and the family friendly Blue Moon Cafe that opens 2 and a half hourse before the game featuring more menu items, live music, and three large screens. It is a great way to kick things off at your City experience and grab a bite and a pint before the game.

The blue carpet experience takes place outside the Colin Bell stand entrance where fans can hold their hands out to greet City players as a walk into the stadium. If you have any questions just look for one of the many Playmakers who are dressed in yellow to assist with any questions that guests may have while offering free goodies if you kind enough to ask.

The blue carpet experience takes place outside the Colin Bell stand entrance where fans can hold their hands out to greet City players as a walk into the stadium. If you have any questions just look for one of the many Playmakers who are dressed in yellow to assist with any questions that guests may have while offering free goodies if you kind enough to ask.

The Manchester City Shop has been revamped to reflect the club’s new jersey manufacturer Puma. Inside fans can choose from multiple items from kits, shirts, jackets, hats, souvenirs, and also view the Blues trophies that are on displayed that include the Carabo Cup, FA Cup, Community Shield, and Premier League championship.

City supporters have various chants and being the game with the singing of “Blue Moon”. Another anthems at the stadium include the club’s unofficial “Boys in Blue” that is played at the end of matches in the Eastlands. The other chants that can be heard include “Singing the Blues”, “Super City”, “Yaya and Kolo”, and “We’re Not Really Here”

The Manchester City mascots are a pair of friendly, funny-looking creatures with big ears called Moonchester and Moonbeam. They sometimes take a seat in the stands and watch the match alongside the spectators. Interested how these creatures look? Just check out the photos above.

Neighborhood 4

There aren’t too many pubs around the ground, so most fans prefer to drink in the centre of Manchester before making the walk to the stadium. As the stadium is more or less situated in a residential area, the pubs are rare. But there is a large area just outside the stadium especially for fans who attend the match. There are a couple of large bars where you can buy your drinks and your regular stadium food. There is also a big stage with large LCD screens showing everything (like interviews and match highlights) of Manchester City Football Club.

A few bars located near the stadium included The Bank that dates back to the early 19th century, the Gray Horse Inn, a small little space, The Manchester, and The Eastlands. However, Mary D’Bemish Bar is a must if heading to the game. The bar houses a massive drinking hall that is dripping with football culture.

While in town, The National Football Museum is England’s national museum of football. It iis located in Manchester city centre, and preserves, conserves and displays important collections of football memorabilia. City residents are allowed in for free but will cost £10 for all other adults and £5 for childrend 5-15. The Science and Industry Museum is devoted to the development of science, technology and industry with emphasis on the city’s achievements in these fields. According to the it’s website, The Lowry is committed to using visual and performing arts to enrich people’s lives. We present audiences with a diverse programme of theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy and visual art.

Fans 4

The fans were really friendly. There was no tension at all in and around the ground. Manchester City has a large fanbase in the UK and attracts supporters mostly from Manchester itself. Since moving to the Etihad Stadium, the average attendances have been in the top five in England. Supporters are loyal towards the Sky Blues and the supporter groups are known to sing and chant throughout the 90 minutes of football.

Access 5

The stadium is located in the east of Manchester and is about 2.5 kilometres away from Manchester’s city centre. A walk from the city centre to the stadium takes you about 30 minutes.The easiest way to travel to the stadium is by the via the Metrolink which connects Piccadilly Station and runs every 6 minutes during match days; it is located directly with the Etihad Stadium. Busses lined up on Ashton New Road next to the South Stand.

If you are arriving by car the stadium provides lots for £10. It should be noted that there are road closures after the game to allow visitors to leave the stadium safely. These roads are Ashton New Road, Grey Mare Lane, and Merrill Street. When you arrive by car, leave the M62 at Junction 18.

It is highly suggested to arrive early to soak up the City experience at the City Square that was mentioned earlier in this review. It is also a great place to spend some time after the game while the traffic dissipates to enjoy highlights on the TV screens, player interviews, and other events.

Return on Investment 4

The ticket pricing depends on who City is playing and can be found for as low £27.50 for games against Burnley but increase to £51.50 for matches against Aston Villa. Then there are games that are sold-out well in advance against cross-town rivals Manchester United and other heavy hitters Everton, Arsenal, and Liverpool. The key is to plan ahead if you are looking at purchasing the most affordable tickets.

Concession items are reasonably priced with pints of lager ranging around £5 and pies costing around £4 apiece. However, items in the city store can get somewhat expensive but on par with other teams in the league.

Extras 5

Manchester City offers guided stadium tours around the Etihad, which include visits to the players’ tunnel, some part of the stands, dressing room, and press conference room. Stadium tours are £25 and have been improved in recent time that includes new interactive exhibits with holographic content and 360-degree cinema experience.

Another bonus are the famous players in the first team squad: Joe Hart, Maicon, Vincent Kompany (captain), James Milner, Samir Nasri, Edin Džeko, Sergio Kun Agüero, Gareth Barry, David Silva, Carlos Tévez, Kolo, and Yaya Touré (vice-captain), and Mario Balotelli are just a few names you will see when visiting a home match at the Etihad Stadium.

Final Thoughts

It was an amazing day, and a great experience! It was worth the £35.00 which I paid for my ticket, and I would come back to the Etihad Stadium any time, as fans of Manchester City Football Club were very approachable and very friendly. Great stadium, great team, and great players.

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