Today’s post was written by my mum!
We were invited to go along to Manchester City’s Ethiad stadium for a tour and to learn more about them, but since we are devout ‘reds’ here it wasn’t for us. My mum, however, is a City fan through and through so it was a brilliant opportunity for her to take my nephew Kieran along. So I’ll hand you over to my dear mum who can tell you all about her day there…
I was recently invited to a stadium tour at Manchester City football club and to be honest I couldn’t wait to sample the delights of what for me is the best stadium in the premier league. As a City fan I thought I knew what was coming as I’d been to the ground many times before. Just the walk over the ‘Blue bridge’ from the car park towards the Ethiad stadium gives me goosebumps and a feeling of belonging to this community based club.
We met on the first floor in the shop area where all the shirt printing takes place, and after a quick health and safety talk we were on our way back out into the square where we were shown the outside stage which hosts live bands, past players, commentators and competitions on match days. A short walk round to the main entrance and through the Colin Bell stand we were ready to start the tour.
First stop was The Chairman’s Club where the owner Sheik Mansour and the Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, who has attended every home game! This is probably the most impressive room for any neutral as its ceiling to floor luxury from classy seating and layout to state of the art TV’s in every nook and cranny. Any invitation into this room and you could be sat with the owner himself. Of course the seating area outside is a little more plush than anywhere else in the stadium with leather clad chairs which are all heated for those winter games.
Into the press room where many a player and manager has felt the heat from the awkward questions from the baying reporters looking for that exclusive news snippet or throw away comment which will sell the papers or hold the attention of people in one form or another, then straight through to the players ‘after match’ room where they can meet up with their family and friends to enjoy a drink or meal. The room next door is a special one dedicated to winning the premier league in the 2011/12 season. The walls are lined with pictures of every game and result, with the TV on loop play of all the goals during the season, and the premier league trophy having pride of place in a glass cabinet near the exit.
The warm-up room leads onto the players area where you can experience the feel of the dressing room with the opportunity to sit in the seat of your favourite player with their shirt hanging behind ready for match day. Onwards then to the players tunnel to hear the recording of what the players can hear just before they embark onto the pitch. The main focus here is on the digital time display which tells the players what time they need to go out onto the pitch. An error of being late out of the tunnel will cost the club £3,000 for every minute behind schedule. Going back a couple of seasons when playing Sporting Lisbon the players were 1 minute late which cost them £25,000. The old saying of time is money really comes into its own here.
Sitting in Pellegrini’s seat shouldn’t be too uncomfortable in the winter with his & every seat on the home side being heated and even the substitutes floor area benefits from underfloor heating. The same can’t be said for the away side with standard seating and certainly no home comforts being extended to that side! The tour finishes in room which carries the history of the clubs kits and past players with mascots in attendance ready for any photo shots and of course the trophy cabinet which I’m sure will be added to in the not to distant future.
All in all a great attraction and a pleasure to feel the community spirit within this club.
*We were invited to the tour without charge for the purpose of this review