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Manchester City 7 v 0 Leeds United
Barclays Premier League
Tuesday, 14th December 2021 Kick-off 20:00
Manchester City Awaydaze
Monday, 13th Dec 2021 22:57 by Tim Whelan

As our run of difficult fixtures continues, we head to the Etihad tomorrow night to face Manchester City. The kick-off is at 8pm and it’s live on BT Sport. The stadium is about a mile to the east of the city centre.

By car you need to take the M60 round the eastern side of the city to junction 23, then the A635 towards the city centre, forking right onto the A662 soon afterwards and following this road for a couple of miles until the stadium looms up in front of you.

There is parking available at the stadium itself which costs £10 per car, with the East Car Park the nearest to the away turnstiles, though it takes a long time to clear after the game. There is a residents' only parking scheme for about a mile around the stadium, but there are some unofficial car parks around, charging around £5 per car.

It's about 20 minute walk from the main Piccadilly railway station, and if you’re heading this way you need to follow the walking route signposted to "Sportcity". If you can’t raise the energy to walk you can catch the Metrolink towards Ashton-under-Lyne, as far as the Etihad Campus stop. An adult return costs £3. You can also catch bus 216, 230 or 231 from Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre.

There aren’t many pubs around the stadium, and they are mostly for home fans only, so it’s best to do your drinking in the city centre. There is a fanzone at the north side of the stadium, which you’ll pass if you’re coming in from the tram stop, with food and drink stalls and musical entertainment of varying quality. There is also a fish and chip shop opposite the away end, with queues far shorter than our own United Fisheries.

The stadium was originally built for the 2002 Commonwealth games on a post-industrial wasteland that was once the site of Bradford Colliery. During the Commonwealth games the capacity was 38,000, with £77m of the cost coming from Sport England and the remaining £35m from Manchester City council.

One option for it’s subsequent use was to convert it into a 65,000 capacity football and athletics stadium with removable seating. But this would cost £50m more than a football-only stadium, so they decided that the extra cost was couldn’t be justified when the major athletics events at the venue would be quite infrequent.

So instead they removed the track they and created a new tier of seating by taking the pitch down to a lower level, as well as building a new stand at the northern end. The fact that City had managed to obtain a new stadium at public expense played a major role in attracting the UAE mob to buy the club, as it’s doubtful that they would have gone for the glamour of City’s former ground in Moss Side.

In July 2011, the Club announced a ten year sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways to rename the stadium the Etihad, for a huge sum to boost their revenue and get around the financial fair play regulations. At least City had the decency to abstain when the other Premier League clubs voted to stop Newcastle pulling off the same trick this season.

Once the Sheiks had purchased several trophies with their huge investment they needed to accommodate the extra fans who were turning up to watch, so an extra tier was added to the South Stand in 2014/15 to take the capacity up to the current 55,000. It has been designed so that each and every one of these seats is within 100m of the centre spot.

Our allocation is 3,000 seats to one side of the South Stand, in both the upper and lower tiers, at a cost of £30 for adults, £25 for seniors and young adults (aged 18 to 21 years) and £18 for the under 18s. Naturally, these all sold out a very short time after they had gone on sale. None of the seats have bad or obstructed views, but there isn’t much space between us and the blocks of City fans either side, so things might get a bit lively.

Fans of another local Premier League club call the stadium the ‘Emptyhad’ as they have been known not to sell all their tickets, though this might be down to the expense of buying seats for all the many games City have to play, with their long cup runs in most competitions. To live up to this reputation, the official City site is now selling seats for this game, with all sections having at least a few tickets available.

Despite this the club have planning permission to extend The North Stand by constructing a new third tier, to add 6,250 seats and take the overall capacity will rise to around 61,000. But there is no given timescale when this will happen. By the sound of it, they will need to give the away clubs a mighty allocation to get close to filling it, so maybe we might be taking a lot more fans to City one day.

Some of this stuff comes from www.footballgroundguide.com .

Photo: Action Images



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