Manchester City FC Stadium Tour

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Well, here is to a new adventure. This time, we drove up the M40 to Manchester. After a gruelling 5h30 drive (hate the M25), we arrived at the Etihad Stadium.

We had booked the 10.20am tour, best book them as they go off quickly, and we made sure we arrived 15min. The stadium is located 10min from the City Centre. The stadium was actually created for the Common Wealth Games.

Manchester City

Manchester City Football Club is a football club in Manchester, England. Founded in 1880 as St. Mark’s (West Gorton), they became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887 and Manchester City in 1894. The club moved to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, having played at Maine Road since 1923.

The club’s most successful period was in the late 1960s and early 1970s when they won the League Championship, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup under the management team of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, culminating in relegation to the third tier of English football for the only time in their history in 1998. Having regained their Premier League status in the early 2000s, the club was purchased in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group and has become one of the wealthiest in the world. Since 2011 the club have won six major honours, most notably the Premier League twice in 2012 and 2014.

By 2014–15, Manchester City had the sixth-highest revenue in the footballing world with an annual revenue of €463.5 million, and were the world’s fifth most valuable football team with an estimated valuation of $1.38 billion according to Forbes magazine

City of Manchester Stadium history

The City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England, also known as the Etihad Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is the home ground of Manchester City Football Club and, with a capacity of 60,000, the third-largest stadium in the Premier League and eighth-largest in the United Kingdom.

Built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the stadium has since staged the 2008 UEFA Cup Final, England football internationals, rugby league matches, a boxing world title fight, the England rugby union team’s last match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and music concerts.

The stadium, originally proposed as an athletics arena in Manchester’s bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics, was converted after the 2002 Commonwealth Games from a 38,000 capacity arena to a 48,000 seat football stadium at a cost to the city council of £22 million and to Manchester City of £20 million. Manchester City F.C. have leased the stadium from Manchester City Council since moving from their Maine Road ground in the summer of 2003.

The stadium was built by Laing Construction at a cost of £112 million and was designed and engineered by ArupSport, whose design incorporated a cable-stayed roof structure, suspended by twelve exterior masts and attached cables. The stadium design has received much praise and many accolades, including an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2004 for its innovative inclusive building design, and a special award in 2003 from the Institution of Structural Engineers for its unique structural design.

In August 2015, a 7,000 seat third tier on the South Stand was completed, in time for the start of the 2015–16 football season. The expansion was designed to be in keeping with the existing roof design. A North Stand third tier has planning approval and work on it is expected to begin by 2017, increasing capacity to around 61,000

The stadium Tour

First of all, you must know that you need to park in the Blue car park, as you cannot do so in the main car park (should save 15min). As usual, you meet in the megastore and you go to the second floor. The tour is meant to last 1h30 but ours lasted 2h30. Our guide was on fire, so eager to share his knowledge and passion, it was great.

We started the tour by going into the museum to take a picture with the original League Cup. We then make our way to the Corporate hospitality in the Chairman lounge. It was beautiful and definitely 5 stars. Costs per person per game…£500. The interesting fact is that there are two private booth for Club Directors to have a conversation and potentially conclude deals. This was the case for Lescott to get him from Everton to Man City. You then go into the stands and seat on the posh seats with central heating 🙂

Afterwards, we made our way to the media room. The best one to date with the Emirates. Spacious and luxurious. You then make your way towards the dressing rooms going through an amazing warm up room (full of new machines, and a mini pitch!). The dressing rooms are of a medium size but the seats (sports leather type) are the nicest. We were actually in the dressing room when they prepared them for the game against West Brom tomorrow. 2 shirts each and couple of socks. Finally, we went down the tunnel onto the pitch.

We then exited the stadium but not before our guide gave us the following facts:

  1. The Premier League trophy only has two Lions, whereas England has three, but that is because the Captain lifting the trophy is considered to be the third Lion
  2. The eagle on the crest is in reference to the Roman Eagle (Manchester was a roman town)
  3. The gardener has got an app to switch on the sprinklers
  4. It takes 8min to clear the stadium…
  5. …and it takes 3 days to prepare the stadium for the Champions League game (they even have to tape the logo of each TV because LG is not an official sponsor (ridiculous right, not to a marketeer)

Official information regarding the stadium tour: https://www.mcfc.co.uk/the-club/stadium-and-club-tours

Cost: £17 adult
Stadium architecture: 8/10
Stadium history: 9/10
Stadium Tour: 10/10
Overall mark: 9/10

Benoit Mercier

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