Tuesday 21 September 2021

Manchester City - City Of Manchester Stadium

Manchester City FC
The City Of Manchester Stadium
M11 3FF

0161 444 1894

Ground Number: 244
Sunday 17th February 2013
Manchester City 4-0 Leeds United
FA Cup 5th Round



The club was officially formed in 1894, as per the date on their badge. However, two clubs played a key role in their formation. St Mark's (West Gorton) was a church team that was established in 1880, having already had a cricket team for five years but needed something to do in the winter months. Anna Connell, daughter of the Rector Arthur Connell, and other members of St. Mark's Church of England, West Gorton, Manchester, founded the football club that would become known as Manchester City, for largely humanitarian purposes. Anna and two church wardens sought to curb local gang violence and alcoholism by instituting new activities for local men, whilst high unemployment plagued East Manchester, specifically Gorton. All men were welcome to join, regardless of religion. 

They were subsequently known as West Gorton and then Gorton during their formative years. They changed their name to Ardwick Association in 1887 after being forced out of their home in Gorton and moving to another pitch in nearby Ardwick, near the railway line. They looked to expand, changing their name to Manchester City in 1894 and within a year they were attracting crowds of 20-30,000.


In 1891, the then-named Ardwick FC joined the Football Alliance. This disbanded in 1892, with the vast majority of the clubs joining the Football League's newly-formed Second Division. Manchester City would win the Second Division during the 1888-89 season, alternating between the top two divisions. Exactly 100 years later, the unthinkable would happen and Manchester City would drop down to the third tier for the only time in their history. Their return was far from simple with the team sitting 13th at Christmas following a run of five games without a win. They recovered to finish in 3rd place and would go on to beat Wigan Athletic in the play-off semis. Even in the final, City looked to be spending a second consecutive season in the third tier. Going into injury time, they were 2-0 down to Gillingham but somehow recovered to equalise before triumphing 3-1 on penalties. 

In terms of league honours, City have won both the first and second tiers seven times each. A lot of their success in what is now called the Premier League has come since 2008 when Abu Dhabi-based Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Limited completed a takeover of the club. Five of their top division titles have come since 2012, their first in 44 years.

3:  FA CUP

Manchester City have won the FA Cup six times, the last of these wins coming in 2019 as they thumped Watford 6-0. They've also been runners-up on five occasions. The club last lost to a non-top-flight club in 2014, going out to Wigan Athletic in the Quarter Final to Wigan Athletic who had also beaten them in the previous seasons final before being relegated from the Premier League.


Manchester City have won the League Cup a joint record eight times along with Liverpool. They've been runners-up once, losing to Wolves in 1974. They are currently on a run of four consecutive cup wins - their last loss coming in October 2016 in a 4th Round game, 1-0 against their cross-city rivals Manchester United. Their last defeat to a non-top flight club came in 2002 when they lost to a heavily-backed Wigan Athletic in the 3rd Round.


Manchester City's only European honour came in 1970 when they beat Gornik Zabrze 2-1 in the Cup Winners Cup Final in Vienna thanks to goals from Neil Young & Frannie Lee. They were also runners-up in the 2021 Champions League Final, losing 1-0 to Chelsea in Porto.


The club played at various homes before settling at their first permanent home of Hyde Road in 1887, the ground having a capacity of up to 40,000 by the time the club left in 1923. A section of the roofing is still in use today, at the Shay Stadium in Halifax. The club left for a new home and the land became used for the nearby railway facilities.  It is now home to the Olympic Freight Terminal, a storage and warehousing facility southeast of the main city centre.

They then moved two and a half miles away to Maine Road, situated in the Moss Side area of the city. The capacity was just over 35,000 when it closed in 2003 but in 1934, the ground recorded a record attendance of 84,569 for an FA Cup 6th Round game against Stoke City, which the hosts won 1-0. It was the second-biggest attendance at a club ground in England and the highest outside of an FA Cup Final. The stadium was converted to an all-seater venue in 1994, following the Taylor Report. The Kippax Terrace was replaced by a three-tier stand with a capacity of 14,000, at the time, the tallest stand in the country. Manchester City and left in 2003 and although both Stockport County and Sale Sharks both expressed interest in moving in, the area is now used for housing.

The club moved to the City Of Manchester Stadium, currently known as the Etihad Stadium for sponsorship reasons, in 2003. The huge complex was originally built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, being converted for football use a year later. It is part of a huge site that includes the Etihad Campus training ground, the Academy Stadium (used for women and youth games) and the Manchester Regional Arena (used for football, rugby and athletics. Manchester City currently have a 200-year lease on the stadium which has a capacity of 55,017 with the record attendance for football coming against Leicester City in February 2016 when 54,693 attended. The ground has been used for a few England games and also for pop concerts with bands such as Oasis, Rod Stewart and Robbie Williams playing at the venue.


The club's traditional rivals have been Manchester United their cross-city counterparts, although Liverpool has become more of a rival in recent years thanks to United's fading success as the same time as City have entered a period of success. Anti-United jibes include 'The Rags' - an insult from the post-war years when bomb damage forced the Reds to groundshare at Maine Road and use a borrowed kit that became so well-used, it resembled rags. United jibes include calling their rivals 'Stockport' due to a lot of their fans hailing from that part of Manchester. Indeed, for a while, Stockport County played games on a Friday night to counteract the issue. Both teams have called each other fans 'plastics' when more casual fans have jumped on the bandwagon during successful times. 

City fans refer to United's Old Trafford stadium as 'The Swamp'. This dates back to 1909 when new United chairman John Henry Davies used money that was originally intended for a tourism venture in the Everglades, Florida to fund the building of the stadium. More modern takes on the nickname have suggested that it was their poor pitch the reason or even that Shrek lookalike Wayne Rooney played for them. In return, United fans have dubbed their stadium 'The Council House' due to it's ownership or 'The Emptyhad' due to perceived poor attendances, although this has only really been true for League Cup games with the lowest attendance of 33,089 turned up for a semi-final against Burton Albion.

The North West Counties League club Maine Road was established by Manchester City supporters in 1955 and was originally a Sunday League team. Famous City supporters include Coronation Street actors Kevin Kennedy, Simon Gregson, Michelle Keegan and Sally Lindsay. In music, Liam & Noel Gallagher are fans whilst boxer Rocky Hatton also supports the club.


The clubs have faced each other four times. Amazingly, Wycombe boasts a 100% record against Manchester City in the league having beaten them home and away during the 1998/99 season. The stat is even more remarkable when you consider that Wycombe survived relegation by the skin of their teeth with City going up through the playoffs. The League Cup is a different story with Wycombe recording a credible 0-0 draw in a 1995 League Cup 2nd Round 1st Leg game. However, the Premier League side won 4-0 in the second leg to send Wycombe out. 

Players to have played for both sides include midfielders Nicky Reid and Luke Bolton. Reid came to Wycombe via West Bromwich Albion at the tail end of his career whilst Bolton spent a largely unspectacular loan spell at Wycombe in 2019 and is still on City's books. He has since played on loan for Dundee United and Luton Town.


Please note that this is my personal favourites and in no way supposed to be the best team. It may include a lot of 1990s nostalgia, a period that saw mixed fortunes for City. The only rule I've given myself is that they must be from 1993 onwards as that is when I got into football on a wider scale.

Tony Coton

Richard Edghill
Vincent Kompany
John Stones
Stuart Pearce

Steve Lomas
Alf Inge-Haaland
Ian Bishop

Georgi Kinkladze

Uwe Rosler
Sergio Aguero

Shirts: 1993-95 home and 2020-21 away


The City of Manchester has a population of around 550,000 whilst the wider area of Greater Manchester has a population of 2.7 million. The Mayor is Andy Burnham, one of those rare things in life, a decent politician that you wouldn't cross the road to avoid. e Manchester worker bee is one of the best-known symbols of Manchester and has been an emblem for the city for over 150 years.  The bee denotes Mancunians’ hard work ethic and the city being a hive of activity. It has also come to represent the sense of unity in the city.


I had been planning to go to Manchester City v Chelsea on a Monday night last March, but Chelsea went through in the FA Cup and so the game was off. A most enjoyable evening was had at Curzon Ashton, a really nice club who I am glad I visited so it was maybe a blessing in disguise that it was called off. That week also saw me visit Gateshead and Everton in my first few days away up North for football. A second one was had earlier this season which saw me at New Mills, Guiseley and Buxton to add to my tally of grounds visited. For this week though, I was going all out, spending the whole week away and planning to hit as many of the 4 remaining teams out of the 92 that I had to do. I bought a ticket for the one that I thought would be most tricky - Liverpool and had firm plans to go to Burnley, though these were changed from Saturday to Tuesday at the last minute due to cup commitments. I was hoping and praying that the Man City game would be on Sunday after they were drawn at home to Leeds, and this turned out to be the case.

I thought it would be simple enough to get a ticket - after all, I had easily bought a ticket for the Chelsea game last year. But you had to have a purchase history with Man City and my refunded ticket (due to them moving the date) did not count. Try as I might - phoning the ticket office, trying to buy hospitality, trying Leeds, asking mates and trying on forums, I couldn't get one for love nor money. Well, I could if I wanted to pay £87 for a £20 ticket off of some dodgy ticket tout website. And that was something that I was considering if the prices came down to £60. But I fired off a quick email to Man City, explaining the situation as posted above and posting a link to my website, not expecting to hear anything back. Imagine my shock when I got an email back, saying that my personal plea had been passed on to a manager and they could sell me a ticket after all. I just had to send them my personal details and agree to the ground regulations and they would ring me. Within a couple of minutes of sending the email, they were selling me one of the best seats in the house for £20, forgoing the usual £2.50 fee for booking by telephone. The tickets were ordered at 2PM and came the next day - first class service from Man City all around. Many smaller clubs failed to reply to messages, so it was nice to see that a bigger club had a heart and cared about their customers, despite being the current Premiership Champions.

On the day, I woke feeling a bit groggy. It was about 10.20 when I woke up, meaning that I wouldn't have enough time to go into Manchester beforehand, and would have to go straight to the game. I left my room at 11 and just before 11.30, I arrived at the road where I had planned to park. I saw that it was possibly part of a residents-only parking zone and after seeing the stadium was a bit closer than I had thought, decided not to chance it and park elsewhere. I drove a little further away and found a decent space on an industrial estate about 20 minutes away from the ground, and also, importantly for after, also 20 minutes away from town. After making sure my car was all locked and getting together some stuff to take with me, I headed off towards the ground. I looked at all the unofficial match sellers stuff and fancied a match scarf, but wasn't going to pay £8. I told the bloke I only wanted to pay a fiver, and he agreed as long as I didn't tell his daughter who was selling scarves nearby! After that, I was feeling hungry and so I went looking at some of the places around, eventually opting to go into Zest Grill n Fry near the ground. The Chargrilled Chicken, Chips and salad were delicious and of excellent value at just £3.50. I then went to the nearby Asda to get some stuff for while I was in the ground. I still had an hour to spare before the game kicked off and so went to a local pub, The Manchester for a quick pint. It was packed and so I was glad to get my Magners to cool me down and refresh me. I then made my way to the ground, getting in at around 1.35

The match was a decent one but was over before it started really. A lovely passing move was finished off neatly by Yaya Toure who tricked Leeds keeper Simon Ashdown into committing himself before rounding him to open the scoring after just 5 minutes. It was 2-0 ten minutes later when Sergio Aguero was fouled in the box. He stepped up to the spot himself, giving Ashdown no chance in the Leeds goal. City continued to dominate until halftime, but without really creating much. Half time saw some analysis on the game live on the pitch, with former City players Imre Varadi and Paul Power. It was decent to watch and with a kids game also going on there was plenty to keep you entertained during the interval. The next goal, if it came would really decide what direction the game would be going in. Leeds had made 2 changes at halftime, hoping to swing the game in their favour. Though there was a slight improvement on their part it was still City in control and they further extended their lead on 52 minutes, scored by Leeds boss Neil Warnock's nemesis Carlos Tevez. The Argentinean signed for West Ham back in 2007 and there were some issues with the transfer which led to the hammers getting fined. The player's goals kept West Ham up at the expense of Warnock's Sheffield United which resulted in a legal battle with the Bramall Lane club trying to get recompense. The resulting financial issues with loss of revenue resulted in the Blades dropping down another division into League 1 where they remain to this day. The game was finished off with probably the best goal of the game on 73 minutes when Sergio Aguero neatly finished, deflecting his shot in off the post. Leeds fans had had enough by this point and started calling for Warnock's head. They had given excellent backing to their team all afternoon, with a few efforts at chanting by the home fans, but not much. Even when the goals were scored, there was more clapping than cheering, which was not what i was used to. Everyone was friendly though and there were no signs of trouble between the sets of fans, what with the massive police presence.

After the game, I dropped my stuff back at the car before heading into the city centre. The last time when I went to Manchester on my week off last year, it was mainly for shops and the football museum, both of which were very enjoyable. But there didn't seem to be a huge range of the sort of pubs that I liked, ones where I can try something new. But my fears were unfounded. First stop was the Port Street Beerhouse, recommend to me by mate and fellow blogger Tom Jellis who like me loves his pubs and football. Firstly I had a half of Gwynt y Ddraig Happy Daze, which I had tried before in the Wetherspoons beer festival and really enjoyed. I then tried some Perry Vale from the same company, which in my mind was even nicer. I then took a walk to the Cornerhouse, an arty type of cafe place, just like the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff that I visited last December. It also shared something in common with its Welsh counterpart in that despite being listed as doing Hallet's Cider, they didn't have any in stock, so the search to try that particular one goes on. Instead, I had a light Belgian cherry beer, being cautious as I had to drive home shortly after. In the arts centre, I saw a bit of art that looked like it came from the local playschool, but they were still asking £450 for it. Someone is onto a nice little earner if they can knock out stuff at that price! I got back to my car, recognising the bit near Mancunian Way where Sam Tyler 'died' and got sent back in time in the excellent BBC series 'Life On Mars. As a result, I really fancied watching a few episodes of this, but sadly my Blu-Rays and PS3 were back home, 200 miles away. Though I wasn't especially hungry, I still stopped off for a snack on the way home, getting a Keema Naan from a local takeaway. This set my gastric juices flowing and so after getting back to the services where my hotel was, I got myself some gravy and chips. I then went back to my room, checking out Facebook and chatting on my phone before watching the FA Cup Highlights on ITV. Soon after that I drifted off, but had a restless nights sleep, but having had a good day.


When this tie was pulled out of the hat, I was pretty happy with it. Whilst not on my top tier list of grounds that I wanted to visit having not been for years, it was still a decent tie. Even more so when I lost all my photos from my last visit, thanks to a phone crash and in those days, the lack of cloud storage. Initially, I thought it might be a late night with work in the morning but happily, it fell on my ten days off work. Quickly I booked up coach travel and hotels, planning on travelling onto Newcastle for an extended break the day after the game. I'd really hoped the game would be on Wednesday but Manchester United got in there first with their game against West Ham being scheduled for that day. It would have been nicer to base myself in one city for the whole trip and see an afternoon game on Wednesday, but it wasn't to be. I got good prices on the coaches and hotels for the most part as I was able to book a couple of weeks in advance. The tickets were also a bargain, just a tenner if you were a Wycombe season ticket holder and similar prices for their fans I'd imagine. City often gets mocked for their cheap prices, but give me that any day over Manchester United wanting £30 for a membership before you can even talk about getting a ticket, Supply and demand, I understand but I'd only been to Old Trafford for a League 2 playoff final and the experience was very poor.  I was planning to go for a revisit against Astana in Europe but the game 'only' attracted a crowd of around 50,000 with a third of the stadium empty. It's one of the reasons I've always preferred City over United, though I do have admiration for the Reds teams of the 1990s.


My one main regret as a groundhopper is that I never visited Maine Road, especially for Wycombe's famous win there in 1999. At the time, I wasn't bothered as I was happy working all the time and making as much money as I could, which wasn't much at my wage of the time of £3.50 an hour. The day before, I tidied up my original entry for my blog and did a bit of writing about Manchester City. Typically, it took all afternoon with me being sidetracked looking at Manchester City stuff from the 1990s, a period that I'm very nostalgic for. The rest of the day was spent doing research for my blog for the week ahead, with six new grounds planned for a visit. The day of the game came and I woke up early again, just after 6. I spent a couple of hours lazing about and having breakfast before getting a lift to Amersham station, arriving just after 8. The place was quiet for the time of morning but I had 20 minutes to wait for my train with the Metropolitan Line still limited and me getting the 08.25 Chiltern train. After changes at Harrow On The Hill, Baker Street and Oxford Circus I got to Victoria an hour later. I had a short walk to my coach stop and was there 50 minutes before departure.

The coach was bang on time, although the five-hour journey dragged. I was glad of the stop at Norton Canes Services where I got a Chicken McNugget Meal, although with it only being a 20-minute stop, time was tight. It was nice and freshly cooked but they forgot my sweet curry sauce. It was then back on the coach and we were in Manchester shortly after 3.20. I chucked my stuff in my hotel room and headed off to the Crown and Kettle. It wasn't as good as last time since the refurb but I still stopped for a pint of Sheppy's 200, a retry for me. It was then across the road to Bar Fringe, which had another disappointing range of cider. Instead, I had a pint of Timmermans Strawberry Beer, which I assume was meant to be sold in smaller measures as it was a colossal £7.70 a pint. It was nice though and a new one for me. On days like this, it should be just about kicking back and enjoying myself and not worrying too much about money. The drinks were fairly light too, 4 and 5% compared to my usual 7% pints. I decided to skip the Wetherspoons until after. So it was off to the Font where I had a pint of Hogan's and some Katsu fries to soak it all up. The fries were superb for a fiver but soon it was time to head to the ground. I was there just before 7, avoiding a host of matchday scarf sellers who were not naming their price. Entry involved going through several layers of security but the process was quick and friendly.

It was nice to go in and see so many familiar faces. A minutes applause was held in honour of Jimmy Greaves who died on Sunday. The game started with City bossing possession up front as you might expect with a forward line of Foden, Sterling, Mahrez, De Bruyne and Ferran Torres. Unbelievably, Wycombe went 1-0 up on 22 minutes, the back part of City's team not so familiar, but no doubt talented. Seven minutes we led for until De Bruyne struck and we were level for 36 minutes before and after the goal until Mahrez and Foden showed their class. In the second half, we kept it tight and had a few chances when we bought a few of our stronger players on. But in the end, City's class told. Mahrez grabbed a second, Ferran Torres scored and then young Cole Palmer got the sixth. City deserved to win 6-1 but Wycombe didn't deserve to lose 6-1 but that's football. It was strange not being gutted about losing 6-1, but that illustrates the strength of City's side. From the game, I walked 45 minutes to The Waterhouse Wetherspoons where I had a couple of pints of Black Dragon before going back to my room just after 11.30.


THE CITY OF MANCHESTER STADIUM was built for the 2002 commonwealth games in Manchester and soon after they finished, it was adapted for football use and Manchester City moved in. There isn't a huge amount to say about it. It is a typical new stadium, bowl-shaped as opposed to the old style of 4 separate stands. It's not as flash as some of the other new builds, such as Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, but it does its job well. Legroom and views are excellent and there are plenty of eating, drinking and betting facilities in the stadium itself. There are also several official and unofficial merchandise stalls directly outside the ground. 

You are better off eating and drinking outside though, there are loads of takeaway places and pubs to chose from, though the pubs tend to be home fans only. Best bet if you have time is to go into Manchester itself, which is just under half an hour walk away. For parking, I found a decent spot on Cresbury Street, around 20 minutes walk away from both the ground and the City Centre. 

No comments:

Post a Comment