Manchester City

Etihad Stadium

Capacity: 55,097 (all seated)
Address: Rowsley St, Manchester M11 3FF
Telephone: 0161 444 1894
Fax: 0161 438 7999
Ticket Office: 0161 444 1894
Stadium Tours: 0161 444 1894 (Option 4)
Pitch Size: 116 x 77 yards
Club Nickname: The Blues or Citizens
Year Ground Opened: 2002*
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Shirt Sponsors: Etihad Airways
Kit Manufacturer: Nike
Home Kit: Sky Blue and White
Away Kit: Navy and Sky Blue
Third Kit: Grey and Black Stripes

Etihad Stadium
Etihad Stadium
East Stand
East Stand
Colin Bell Stand
Colin Bell Stand
South Stand
South Stand
North Stand
North Stand

After playing at Maine Road for 80 years, the Club moved to the then called City Of Manchester Stadium in August 2003. The stadium was originally built for the Commonwealth Games, held in 2002 and cost in the region of £90m to construct. After that event it was agreed Manchester City would become the new tenants, thus incurring the envy of clubs who would also relish the chance to gain such a wonderful stadium. The club spent £20m in refitting costs, including the removal of the running track and extending the stands further downwards (adding a further 10,000 seats to the capacity) so that the spectator areas are closer to the playing action. A roof was also added to one end of the stadium.

The stadium has a bowl design and is totally enclosed. Both stands on either side of the pitch are virtually identical, being semi circular in shape, three tiered, with a row of executive boxes running across the stands, located in-between the second and third tiers. Both ends were originally smaller in size, being two tiers high, but during the 2014/15 season a large third tier was added to the South Stand, adding another 6,250 seats. It is intended to also expand in a similar way the North Stand but in the meantime it will remain two-tiered with a row of executive boxes, running across the back of the stand just below the roof. Both these ends are of the more traditional rectangular design. The second tier around the stadium slightly overhangs the lower. The roof runs continuously around the stadium stretching up over the stands and down to the North end, creating a spectacular effect. There is a perspex strip just below the roof and the spectator areas, allowing light to reach the pitch. The upper tiers are steeper than the lower, ensuring that spectators are kept close to the playing action. Iain Macintosh adds; 'An interesting feature of the stadium is the openable louvres in each of the four corners. These are located at either end of the level three seating in the East and Colin Bell stands. These are closed when in use, however, when the stadium is unoccupied, they are opened to allow the wind to blow through the enclosed bowl, helping keep the grass pristine'. The stadium also has two large video screens in opposite corners of the ground. Outside the ground near the main club entrance is a memorial garden, which includes a tribute to former city player Marc-Vivien Foe.

In July 2011, the Club announced a ten year sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways to rename the stadium, to the Etihad stadium. Although many fans (and some commentators no doubt) will still call it Eastlands. Also of interest is that the playing surface is the largest in the League.

Man City get my vote for the weirdest looking mascots in the league. Whilst most clubs have elected to re-create some furry creature, Man City have as their mascots a pair of aliens called 'Moonchester' and 'Moonbeam'.

After the completion of the building of a third tier at the South End of the Stadium, the Club will now look to replicate the same at the opposite end. This will add another 6,250 seats and it is hoped that this will be completed for the start of the 2016/17 season. Once finished the overall capacity will rise to around 61,000 making it the second largest football stadium in the country. Work is expected to commence shortly.

 

Away fans are located in one side of the South Stand at one end of the ground, in both the upper and lower tiers, where up to 3,000 fans can be accommodated (4,500 for cup games). The view of the action is pretty impressive although the atmosphere within the stadium is a bit 'hit and miss' at times. I did hear though on my last visit one very good rendition of the Man City fans anthem 'Blue Moon'. My only real complaint was the lack of distance between the home and away supporters. Only a few seats and a row of stewards stood in-between the two sets of fans, which led to a lot of unpleasant baiting between the two. And of course it was always the away fans who were adjudged to be causing the problems by the stewards (although I'm sure that if I visited on another occasion I probably would have seen the same Man City fans baiting in the same manner) and this led a number of away fans on my visit being escorted out of the stadium. 

The facilities are also pretty good with spacious concourses and large plasma flat television screens showing the game. There is also the usual selection of food on offer; including Hot Dogs, Burgers, Chicken Burgers, Chips and a range of pies, although the latter are a bit expensive at £3.50 each.

After the game has finished fans are kept apart immediately outside via a large fence which is erected by the Police, which seems to lead to a lot of exchanges of unpleasant abuse. Some away fans have suggested that it may be best to keep colours covered on making your way back to your transport. It is also worth noting that entrance to the stadium is gained by placing your ticket into an electronic reader, which normally causes confusion to some fans. Please note that you are likely to be searched by stewards at the turnstile entrance.

Ed Jones informs me; 'There is now a large area just outside the stadium, where supporters can drink and eat in a covered area, which is open before and after matches. There are two large bars, one for food and one for drinks. Food includes Steaks, Burgers, Curries, Rice, Chips, Pizza etc.. All kinds of drinks are served in the Summerbee bar. There is a huge stage, with accompanied lcd screen which shows match highlights, and usually has live interviews which ex players, personalities etc... The facilities are open to all fans, however, this may be different for a derby match'.

There are not a great deal of pubs around the stadium, and the few available are predominantly for home support. However, 'The Stanley' (aka Sports Bar) pub does let in away fans in small numbers. It is about a ten minute walk away from the stadium, just set back from the main A6010 (Pottery Lane), going towards Ashburys train station. The easiest way to find it is to locate the large Asda store behind one side of the stadium (there is also a McDonalds outlet next door to the store, plus there is a cafe located inside it) and on facing the superstore turn right and proceed down the main road, you will come to the pub on the left. It does cost £1 for adults to enter the pub, (they even stamp your hand as if you were entering a night club) but children are at least admitted free. Inside there is a large screen showing SKY Sports, good service and a good mix of home and away support.

Alan Finneran informs me; 'I would recommend the Townley on Albert Street, which is only a five minute walk away from the stadium. The pub has a good atmosphere and as long as away fans arrive early and are discrete (i.e. no colours) then they should be okay. Also the Manchester City Supporters Club have their own City Social bar opposite the North Stand. I have seen opposition supporters in there now and again, so if you are a member of your own team's supporters club, then your branch secretary may be able to arrange a visit to the Social bar in advance'. 

Dave Clinton adds; 'If you want a pint beforehand then it is probably best to drink in the city centre. My tip, would be to head to the Printworks in Manchester, near Victoria station. There is a connecting tram service from Piccadilly. There are loads of pubs at the Printworks, with plenty of choice of food. The pubs around Piccadilly itself are not too clever. However Deansgate or around the Town Hall, would be a good place to head for if you are taking in the City centre. This is about a 30 minute walk away from the stadium'. A taxi to the ground would then cost in the region of £7. 

Chris Fogarty warns; 'away fans should avoid the Queen Victoria pub at the bottom of Grey Mare Lane'. Also Mary D's on Grey Mare Lane is also not recommended for away supporters as well as pubs on Ashton New Road (both these roads are in the area behind the away end of the stadium). Otherwise alcohol is available inside the stadium (Singha £3.60, Fosters £3.40, Strongbow £3.40, John Smiths bitter £3.20).

The Green Sports Bar - Located Near Piccadilly

The Green Sports BarThe Green is Manchester's premier entertainment venue and winner of the Best Sports Bar Category in the Great British Pub Awards 2014 for the North West. Split over two levels, we have 8 x 11 foot, big screens and 12 x 40 inch screens showing all televised sport especially football. Join us on our canal side beer terrace on sunny days and over the summer dine from our BBQ menu. A full bar food menu is available all day serving burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and sharers.

All this just one minute walk from Piccadilly Train Station. The bar is around a 20 minute walk, or a 12 minute tram ride, away from the Etihad Stadium. We welcome all fans into the venue and allow colours aside from Manchester Derby days. We look forward to seeing you soon at The Green.

Address: The Green, Bridge House, 26 Ducie Street, Manchester, M1 2DQ (Location Map)
Telephone: 0161 2280681  Website: www.thegreenmanchester.com

The stadium is located in the North East of Manchester.

From the South M6

Leave the M6 at Junction 19 and follow the A556 towards Stockport and then join the M56 going towards Stockport. Continue onto the M60 passing Stockport and heading on towards Ashton Under Lyne. Leave the M60 at Junction 23 and take the A635 towards Manchester. Branch off onto the A662 (Ashton New Road) towards Droylsden and Manchester. Stay on the A662 for around three miles and you will reach the Stadium on your right.

From The M62

Leave the M62 at Junction 18 and then join the M60 Ashton Under Lyne.  Leave the M60 at Junction 23 and take the A635 towards Manchester. Branch off onto the A662 (Ashton New Road) towards Droylsden/Manchester. Stay on the A662 for around three miles and you will reach the Stadium on your right. 

Whilst Iain Macintosh informs me; 'I find this an easier route to the ground; Leave the M60 at Junction 24 and take the A57 (Hyde Road) towards Manchester. Turn right onto the A6010 (Pottery Lane). There are quite a number of unofficial car parks on both sides of Pottery Lane, costing around £5 per car. Pottery Lane becomes the Alan Turing Way and goes right past the stadium on your left'.

Car Parking

There is some parking available at the stadium itself which costs £10 per car, £20 per minibus, whilst motorcycles are free. The East Car Park is nearest to the away entrance. Please be aware that there is a residents only parking scheme in place in the streets near to the ground, which extends about a mile out from the stadium. So if you want to street park, it means parking further away and then walking to the stadium. Some unofficial car parks have sprung up mostly charging around £5 per car. Terry Ireland a visiting Chelsea fan adds; 'Plenty of car parking spaces were available when we arrived at the stadium around two hours before kick off. However, getting out after the game was a joke.  It’s a little like a free for all and took us nearly an hour to exit the car park and be on our way. Meanwhile the unofficial car parks, all but 400 yards away, had cleared, been locked-up and were long gone by the time we passed them on our way home. And they cost the same to park!' 

Peter Llewellyn informs me; 'The road links are busy even on non-match days so make sure you allow plenty of time. The stadium is part of Sportcity so car users should follow the brown Sportcity signs until near the stadium'. 

Post Code for SAT NAV: M11 3FF

Like a number of Clubs Manchester City have a category system for tickets, whereby it costs more to watch the most popular games. Prices for the highest category are shown below, with lowest category shown in brackets:

South Stand (Upper Tier):
Adults £54 (£35), Over 65's £45 (£28), Under 18's £36 (£33), Under 16's £32 (£22)

South Stand (Lower Tier):
Adults £51 (£33), Over 65's £43 (£26), Under 18's £36 (£33), Under 16's £32 (£25)

Manchester City Tickets and Hotel Packages

Travelbird are offering combined matchday tickets and hotel packages for a number of home games at the Etihad Stadium this season. The package includes:

2 tickets for Manchester City in Premium Seats (padded seats on level 2)
Access to the 93:20 bar
Match day programme
1 night accommodation (after the match) at the Pendulum Hotel, including Breakfast

See the Travelbird website for more details and how to book.

Manchester City FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website).

Record Attendance

At The Etihad Stadium: 54,331 v Chelsea, Premier League, August 16th 2015.

At Maine Road: 84,569 v Stoke City, FA Cup 6th Round, March 3rd 1934.

Average Attendance
2014-2015: 45,365 (Premier League)
2013-2014: 47,075 (Premier League)
2012-2013: 46,974 (Premier League)

Official Programme: £3 (on sale inside the ground)
King Of The Kippax Fanzine: £3

Manchester United.

For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the Level Playing Field website

 

The club offer daily tours of the stadium. The tours cost; Adults £16, Over 65's/Under 16's £10, whilst under 4's go free. The tour also includes a visit to the Club Museum and the City Sports Bar. Tours should be booked in advance by calling: 0161 444 1894 (Option 4) or can be booked online

If you require hotel accommodation in the area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Late Rooms. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will go to help with the running costs of keeping the Guide going. 

Access their Manchester Hotels page.

Remember that you can use the above link or panel below to book any other hotels that you may need for business or leisure, either in the UK or abroad.

 

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: duncan@footballgroundguide.com and I'll update the guide.

Special thanks to:

Owen Pavey for providing the ground layout diagram 

Haydn Gleed for providing the YouTube video of the Etihad Stadium

Mark Hulston for providing the photo of the newly expanded South Stand

 

Manchester City v Southampton
Premier league
Sunday 24th May 2015, 3pm
Alex Squires (Southampton fan)

Why you were looking forward to going to the Etihad Stadium?

It was to be a new ground for me to see the Saints play at. Plus it was the last game of the season, so I wasn't going to miss it.

How easy was your journey/finding the Etihad Stadium/car parking?    

As we are exiled Saints fans living up north, we travelled through Bradford to reach the M62. We were in Manchester for 12:45. We parked in the official car park at a cost of £10.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?    

We went towards the club shop where there was a stage with live entertainment including a former live X factor contestant. I'm not a big fan of the show but I was very impressed with city for their work. It puts all the other clubs in the league to shame. We bought a decent burger from a van outside the ground. I didn't experience troubles with city fans.

What you thought on seeing the Etihad, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?

The Etihad Stadium is certainly very impressive. There was building work going on in the away end and it looked a little precarious, not to mention the temporary removal of the roof. Thankfully it didn't rain! The rest of the ground is eye catching particular the side stands with their semi circular design.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..    

The game itself was very disappointing from a Southampton point of view. We put in a strong performance but we didn't deserve to lose 2-0. It was Frank Lampard's last game in England and he scored. He got some applause from the Saints fans when he was substituted. We tried hard but some poor refereeing decisions and our lack of power up front meant Aguero killed the game off with nine minutes to go. Stewarding was over zealous with a police dog even performing a drugs check on us. Didn't have a pie as we'd already eaten but heard complaints that they were overpriced. Toilets were fine.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Surprisingly we were out of the car park very quickly. Within no time we were on our way home grateful we weren't going to face a 5 hour journey like mode saints fans.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A fantastic day out despite the result. A world class stadium. The end of another fantastic season for Saints.

Manchester City v West Ham United
Premier League
Sunday 19th April 2015, 1.30pm
Les Middleton (West Ham United fan)

Why you were looking forward to going to the Etihad Stadium:    
This was to be my first visit to the Ethiad Stadium, so was very much looking forward to it.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
We drove up. The Etihad was very easy to find and also had plenty of parking close. This cost £8 which was not too bad.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
We parked up and asked the attendant for the nearest pub. He sent us to Mary Ds, which turned out to be home fans only, which I later found out! Lucky I had my wife, son and daughter with me. But to be fair no trouble or abuse from the City fans. We met a great bunch of city fans inside, who knew we were West Ham supporters, but still made us very welcome, with a bit of banter. One City fan wanted my crossed hammers badge, so I swapped it with him for a City one. Look after it Phil Walsh!!

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Etihad?
It looks very nice from the outside, although we could not get beer from the outside bars, as they were for home fans only. This was a shame, as it was a good atmosphere, with live bands etc...

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
Well West Ham were poor, we lost 2-0. The atmosphere was a bit flat, but that was probably because we had nothing to play for and City knew the title was gone. Stewards were fine, a bit of abuse from the home fans next to the away section, but nothing too bad. The beer on tap was good and the food was okay, the usual really

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
Leaving the ground was easy with no trouble. Lots of West Ham with claret and blue on walking along with City fans. It only took 5 minutes to walk back to the car. Once underway we found that the traffic was not too bad, unlike at West Ham which can be awful.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Overall a great day apart from the result and West Ham performance. I would definitely go to the Etihad Stadium again.

Manchester City v Hull City
Premier League
2nd February 2015, 3pm
Jonny Walker (Hull City fan)

Why you were looking forward to visiting the Etihad Stadium?

I love Manchester and Manchester City is in my opinion, one of the best away days in the league (I have been there every time we've player them).

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

The in-laws live in Blackburn so got a train direct to Piccadilly, then a taxi to the ground.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

I visited Wetherspoons near Piccadilly station for breakfast and a few beers (plenty of Man City & Salford Reds fans in the pub, friendly banter throughout) Then headed to The Waldorf to watch a bit of the Spurs v Arsenal game on tv. Then jumped in a cab up to the stadium.

What you thought on seeing the Etihad, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?

Always impressed with what Man City have done with the new stadium, including the football village outside.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Stewards were a bit petty outside the ground but once inside they were fine. Stood up throughout and the atmosphere from the Hull City faithful was awesome. Nearly nicked all three points too. Typical that an ex-Leeds player should get the equaliser in injury time!

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Walked back to the train station stopping at a few pubs on the way. Busy but no hassle. Adopted a few Man City fans who came for a few beers with us round Piccadilly. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out A near perfect away day!

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League
Sunday, November 24th 2013, 1.30pm
By Jonny Laybourn (Tottenham Hotspur fan)

After a fantastic visit to Manchester last season, featuring a long-awaited victory at Old Trafford, I thought it would be apt to visit the other club in Manchester with Spurs. As Manchester is such a fine city with a rich cultural heritage as well a plethora of excellent pubs, I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to visit a second time.

As the kick-off was fairly early on a Sunday and I wanted a bit of breathing space between my arrival in Manchester and kick-off, I caught the 8:10 train from Euston. The trip was fairly smooth, as you’d expect. After arriving at Piccadilly station two and a half hours later, I proceeded to pick a sandwich up as a snack, and then walked to the Grey Horse on Portland Street for a couple of pre-match pints. I was one of the first customers to arrive after the pub opened at 11am, which soon filled up with City fans, as well as a few Spurs fans. The barwoman handed out some warm homemade sausage rolls for free, which I gladly accepted as I was still a bit hungry. Note to City fans – how I wish you could, but don’t expect the same from London pubs when you come down here! The home fans at the pub were friendly too. The pub seemed like an oasis of ‘local’ in the heart of Manchester.

I then decided to take the long walk to the ground, back past Piccadilly station. It took around half an hour, and became easier once groups of City fans began to appear on the roads leading to the stadium. The ground came into view after passing the station, and it was very impressive. Some have derided the steel masts as ugly, but I think they offer a unique charm to what might have otherwise been a bland bowl. I took a lap walk of the ground and was pleased to see a makeshift stage and a band playing. I was a bit annoyed at the obligatory searching at the turnstiles, which alas happens more often than not these days. I was towards the back of the lower tier and had a good view of the pitch. The leg room was fine and the stewards allowed us to stand throughout. The Bovril was standard matchday fare; pleasing on such a cold day. 

Nothing to say about the match. We conceded after fourteen seconds and ended up losing six nil. Our fans were fine: sometimes when the going is so tough you might as well just accept your fate and enjoy the rest of the day out. I was rather annoyed that a fellow ‘fan’ had taken to stealing my programme as I was clapping the team off – maybe I deserved it after being so steadfast after such an awful display!

I again walked back into the city centre, back to the pub. I got chatting to a few City fans who offered me their condolences, before heading back to London on the train.  It was a pity I didn’t see much of Manchester as I did on my last visit, but the day was somewhat soured by the match and the programme incident. Hopefully our team will wake up and smell the coffee after this stern lesson. I’ll definitely be back to the Etihad in due course and will hope for a better display from my team.

Manchester City v Newcastle United
Premier League
Monday, August 19th 2013, 8pm
Michael Potter (Newcastle United fan)

I was really looking forward to visiting Manchester City - partly to see what looked like a magnificent ground and savour the atmosphere but also to see the moneybags Citizens playing on their home turf.

I was a bit anxious beforehand because I had read about problems such as extreme hostility from home fans and even coins being thrown but all these worries were misplaced - Man City fans were mainly friendly and even helpful, before and after the game, but then again we did get thrashed 4-0, they probably felt sorry for us! :-) However it's worth saying several Man City fans struck up conversations with me and other Newcastle fans and I did think there was a lot of goodwill towards us which was great and certainly needs to be reciprocated when Man City play at St James' Park.

I parked at the ground which cost £10, you pay the stewards as you drive in. It's a good set-up although you face a very long wait to get out after the game. I then got the tram into the city (All day ticket costs £4.90) because I arrived early in the day so I could go into town for something to eat etc.. That was easy for me to do because it was a night game but for normal 3pm kick offs you need to be aware there is very little in terms of places to get food or have a drink near the ground. However there are catering facilities provided by the club outside the stadium and these include bars.

Overall I was very impressed by the stadium, with wide, safe concourses and architectural features that make it a stunning place to watch a football game. The club deserve a lot of praise for their efforts to entertain fans before the game - there are two stages with live music outside the ground and a live Man City TV hype up with interviews of players etc. Many clubs including my own have a lot to learn here.

Security was strict but friendly getting into the ground and I found all the Man City staff approachable and helpful. The catering is okay but the range of beers is a bit grim, Fosters, Amstel, John Smiths and Heineken. I would have loved to see some real ale or even just Guinness.

I enjoyed reading the programme (£3) which was one of the best I've seen although I also recommend the excellent fanzine which is on sale outside the ground, it's called King of the Kippax (£3)

The atmosphere during the game was electric at the start as both sets of fans unleashed their excitement and enthusiasm pent up from a whole summer without football. There were some aggressive exchanges between some idiot Newcastle fans and some equally daft Man City fans but overall the two sets of fans showed each other a lot of respect, with Newcastle fans taking full part in the one minute applause to mark the recent death of Man City great Bert Trautmann.

Coming out of the ground was a bit full-on because the police were not letting anyone from the away end walk any direction but one - too bad if your car was parked in the other direction like mine, I just had to wait. Once I got to the car and out of the traffic clogged streets near the ground the drive out of the city and back to Geordieland was easy and straightforward.

Overall despite seeing the Mags play very badly and get a spanking from a far superior team on the night I did really enjoy the experience. I can't help reflect that not too long ago Man City were a passionately supported great underachiever just like Newcastle still are - hopefully next time I come back to Eastlands we will have undergone some kind of Man City-like transformation and it won't be a case of men and boys on the pitch like it was this time!

Manchester City v Reading
Premier League
Saturday, December 22nd 2012, 3pm
By Phil Rutter (Reading fan)

Despite being rock bottom in the league and half expecting a cricket score in favour of the home side, this was a fixture that I had been looking forward to for some time.  I had seen the impressive stadium from the train on several occasions, while travelling to other grounds, but I had never actually been there.  I even avoided the work’s Christmas drink, the night before, so that I didn’t feel awful for the trip.

I went by train, arriving at Manchester Piccadilly at around 11am.  The weather was grim, in fact it never stopped raining all day. The city was full of soaked Christmas shoppers. I’m sure that there are numerous pubs in the centre, but to the stranger, they weren’t really obvious. I headed through the shopping centre and found the Printworks. Here there were several bars and restaurants and I had a drink and some lunch in a Lloyds Bar/Wetherspoons pub.

Getting to the ground was easy. I walked back towards the station and turned down Dulcie Street. From here, the ground was signposted as Sportcity all the way there. Unless you have a real aversion to walking, I would recommend getting there by foot. After the final whistle, I stayed back to applaud the Reading players and still made the half-five train. I passed two pubs on the way; one shut, the other up for sale with a ‘Home Fans Only’ sign at the door.  

Don’t expect to find much to do enroute to the Etihad. The stadium is in a residential area, consisting mostly of post-war housing. There is an athletics stadium, with covered seating, adjacent to the much larger football ground. Outside the ground are several outdoor bars selling both alcohol and food. I decided to go into the ground early and have a few beers on the concourse while watching the Wigan v Arsenal game on TV. Unfortunately, the match was not being shown.  The screens had only something called CityTV, where you could watch Tevez and Balotelli struggling to wrap up Christmas presents. Before getting through the turnstiles, away fans were given a full head to toe body search. Reading fans are hardly a notorious bunch and this seemed rather over the top.

The food was the usually overpriced stuff; for example £3.50 for a pie.  John Smiths was on offer at £3.40 a pint.  The loos were fine and coped even at half time, though admittedly we didn’t fill our allocated area.

I paid £40 for a ticket in the lower tier behind the goal. The stand was not steep enough for a really good view and if people stood, it could be difficult for kids and shorter fans to see properly. I reckon the upper tier would a better option if available to the visiting supporter. If you are in a seat in the first five rows or so and it is raining, you’ll probably get wet. I was on the end of a row, close to the City fans, to my left. Rows of three empty seats and a human fence of stewards, one on every step, separated us.  here were even more stewards stood next to the home fans and police on standby to the rear. It seemed a bit like a throwback to the hooligan days of the eighties.  

At kick-off, the Reading fans sat down to watch the game. This really riled the City fans, who presumably hoped we would remain standing, to be more easily baited. The stewards sat when we sat and stood, when we occasionally got excited and stood up. At times they displayed some strange manoeuvres and on 75 minutes, they all suddenly left their seats in unison, with military precision.  I was surprised by the venom hurled at us by some of the home fans.  It was neither a tense nor aggressive fixture and there is little rivalry between the two clubs. I got the impression that the stewards would not hesitate to throw out a visiting fan who responded and I avoided even glancing across to the baiting home fans. It should be said that they were in a small minority and most of them were fine.  hey struggled to get many songs going and the atmosphere was honestly, worse than Wigan. Rarely did any songs ripple around that ground as I had expected to happen.

The game was hardly a classic, which perhaps accounted for some of the lack of atmosphere. City were the best team, but Reading, with players behind the ball, nearly held out for a point.  An injury time header from Gareth Barry really ruined my day. The home fans that had not already left, finally had something to cheer. The wet weather and the score didn’t help matters, but the whole experience was a bit of a let down. It was a visit to supposedly one of Europe’s top clubs, but it just didn’t feel that way.

Manchester City v Southampton
Premier League
Sunday, August 19th 2012, 4pm
By James Dowling (Southampton fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I was really looking forward to visiting as it was our first game since The Saints got relegated back in 2005. It was one of the grounds I wanted to go to as I have had great review from friends that have been before and said the atmosphere is amazing. 

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I travelled up by coach. We left St Mary's Stadium at 7.30am and arrived just after 1pm. It was a very quick journey and also there was not a lot of traffic on the motorway so it was much quicker than everyone thought we would. When we got into Manchester it was easy as the signage was perfect and as we were there early so we didn't have any problems.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

I went into the City store and bought a souvenir keyring to add to my collection of away grounds that I have visited. I also got a programme which I have to say is a brilliant matchday programme. Probably one of the best I have read and it was in a sealed bag which helped as it was raining heavily. It cost £3. It is real value for money as I have never seen a 100 page programme on sale at that price and with not many advert pages in it so was a great programme to read.  I went behind the Main stand where I fans from both Southampton and Manchester City fans were mingling. The home fans were really friendly; they were congratulating us on promotion and we were congratulating them on winning the Premier League.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

When I saw the ground it was now a reality that we were back in the top flight of English Football and the excitement was beginning to build. But I was also feeling concerned that we would be battered 5 or 6-0 before the game. First impressions of the away end were fantastic. I was in the upper tier and I was guaranteed a good view of the game. I have a fear of heights and it wasn't as high as I'd expected. I was glad I wasn't in the top tier of the East or West Stand as I would of been suffering vertigo being very high up and looking down. It was a lot bigger inside then it looked outside the ground thats the other thing that made me think I'm glad to be there. The stadium on the whole is very impressive and I would recommend fans to visit.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

It was a game that I went home not disappointed despite losing 3-2 to the reigning champions. Our performance was exceptional and more than held our own against the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Vincent Kompany. Southampton to be honest got battered in the first half and  the game should  of been well gone before half time but we defended really well. Second half was the most entertaining half football I have experienced it was end to end and when we equalised it was party time because no one expected us to score and then take the lead was amazing and something I will never forget. 

But City woke up after conceding the 2 goals and scored twice in the last 20 minutes to win and was not disappointed. The performance from the lads was top class and I think it showed our clubs that you can cause City big problems at the back if you keep the ball. Stewards were very good with us, they were fair to the fans that couldn't see anything because of fans standing, they kindly asked people to sit down so everyone can enjoy the game. They were very helpful helping us to find our seats and always approachable if you had a question. The atmosphere was amazing both set of supporters were singing there hearts out and that is what I was expecting when we arrived so it was no real surprise that it was very buzzing atmosphere, Facilities were very good for an away end , nice bar and catering concourse. Chips were really nice even if expensive and they had hot dogs, burgers etc .

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting out of the ground was easy as we all got back on the coaches and started the trip back home. The police stopped traffic so we could get out of the area and that doesn't happen at many grounds so was easy to get away from the Etihad. 

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was an amazing day, it was worth the £51 I paid for my ticket and I would come back to the Etihad anytime as fans and staff at Manchester City Football Club were very approachable and very friendly. It was a day where I left with a big smile even if we lost because we played very well against a very good Manchester City team that I think will retain there title come May.

Manchester City v Everton
Premier League
Monday, December 20th 2010, 8pm
By Patrick Burke (Everton fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

After an embarrassing performance against Wigan in our last match, I had never been so down about going to a football match and neither had most Evertonians. We were all praying it was called off! We all agreed if it went pear-shaped we would leave at half-time.  

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?  

It was a rather simple journey down the M56 but when we got into Manchester, the traffic was heaving, it took us an hour to get to the ground from there, luckily, we left early. On the main road to the ground, most car parks were full but we found one called 'MCFC secure' in a local factory which was presumably loaned out. It was £5 and the men occupying it were very pleasant. Other than crossing the main road, which was a nightmare, it was an easy 5 minute walk to the stadium which was very clearly signposted.   

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We couldn't find a single pub or chippy which was very disappointing.  Home fans were helpful.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?  

The ground looked very impressive from both the inside and the outside but the away stand was poorly signposted and one steward directed you one way, the other directed you the other which was very annoying. I bought a match programme outside the stadium, which turned out to be very good. When we got to the away entrance there were a row of stewards checking your tickets and then once through that line we then underwent a full body search carried out by the clubs' security, which seemed a bit over the top. The automatic turnstile system itself was quick and wide as well.  

We were seated in the upper tier near the back and the stairs were steep and a fair climb up to it. Still once there we were rewarded with some fantastic views of the ground.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..  

The fact we were in all blue against a team in another blue was very confusing but we got used to it. All that dreading before the game was  soon dispelled as Tim Cahill put us in front - after just 4 minutes. Great work by Anichebe and Coleman and a great header. The second goal was fantastic football, pass, pass, stun and Baines curved it beautifully past Joe Hart and we honestly thought we were watching Barcelona. At half-time us leading 2-0, it was great to rub it in the faces of the City. The only way they were going to get back into it was through another dodgy ref, which they got. Anichebe sent off for a very very soft challenge on Joe Hart and for one with less complaints - a lunge on someone? A jamy goal as well - a wicked deflection of Phil Jagielka. Still we held on for the victory. The way the ground is designed, the atmosphere seems to go nowhere, you can't hear a thing from anyone other than people in your block. The toilets were large and of high standards but the pies were very poor. 

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Amazingly, getting home was 10 times easier than getting there, no traffic through Manchester and a simple drive on the M56, after dropping 3 people of in Halewood, Aigburth and Speke, we were back home on the Wirral for just before midnight.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A great night out, perhaps made better by our dreading to actually go. Nice to see City failing to go top after trying everything to get it on, and Lescott getting so of his own back! Some poor aspects, over the top security etc... but still a great night.

2nd visit Game attended:

Manchester City vs Fulham Competition:

Barclays Premier league 

Date & Time of match: Sunday 27th February 2011, 15:00

Team supported (or neutral, or Doing the 92): Neutral

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

After one visit already to Eastlands this season, I was sent complimentary tickets and Manchester City deserve a huge applause for that.   

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?  

I took the train from Lime Street to Piccadilly and then another train to Ashburys. Many fans suggested hoping on the 216 from Piccadilly gardens however apart from the Sunday timetable, I found Ashburys an excellent option. It is a short ride and a shorter walk than most people say, it took us under 10 minutes and the ground was visible from after the railway bridge. Car parking seemed very easy, there were a number of special match day car parks scattered around the ground and its surroundings. Most of these are under £4. Even better news is a new tram line is being built and there will be a stop adjacent to the stadium, this should be ready for the start of next season. 

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Seen as we unexpectedly got the early train to Ashburys which was leaving a minute after the train from Liverpool arrived, we were at Ashburys for 12:25 and almost everywhere was empty. We found a very friendly pub called 'The Leigh Arms' which took just 5 minutes from Ashburys. Just a right turn at the first set of traffic lights. They sell possibly the best sandwiches in the UK, have a seat from Maine Road and a very friendly atmosphere, we met several City fans who gave us advice on how to get to the ground and we even had time for a game of cards (as usual I lost!) Inside the ground, I was amazed at how well behaved City fans where, unlike most clubs can say, no swearing! If fans want to know how to behave go to Man City. 

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

Like in December, the ground is a spectacle and lights up a gloomy area. I was in the North stand not the South and we came in from the East so the away end was invisible. We were in the lower tier which offered great views of the goalmouth. We were near the front but from what I saw, the back looked even better. The upper tier offers just as good views so don't worry about where you're sitting!

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

The game was flat and the less said about it the better, 1-1 it finished. A friendly atmosphere was created and in the lower tier, you could hear the sound much more clearly than the upper tier which might give it an advantage if you're choosing where to sit. The stewards weren't the best, they were very rude when we asked if we could take a photo and almost took our bag away because it was left a few rows up from were we eventually took a photo. The pies were good and the toilets were well set up.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting out the ground was easy and so was getting to the station. Do ensure to time trains well from Ashburys, particularly on Sundays and leave early if necessary, we stayed behind at the end of the match and had to wait a good 20 minutes for a train, it worked well though because as we came in to Piccadilly, the hourly 'quicker' service to Liverpool was arriving in five minutes.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:  

Poor game, fans and stewards surprisingly chalk and cheese, good views and a friendly club. Thank you to Manchester City!

Manchester City v Newcastle United
Premier League
Sunday October 3rd 2010, 1.30pm
By John Price (Newcastle United fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

It wasn't so much I was looking forward to the trip as it was one of the many I was planning to go to this season and I knew we'd no doubt be beat; however, I still always look forward to away games hoping for a valuable point or an almost impossible. 

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

We normally go by train, but as my mum wanted to go shopping at the Trafford centre, we decided to drive down from Newcastle instead. The ground unlike Newcastle is pretty much in a residential area. It's pretty easy to find and I know from past experience it's also easy by train (just use Ashbury's Station and it's a short and direct ten minutes walk away max). 

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

As the ground doesn't really have too many pubs around (or any away fans would dare to go to!) I, like pretty much all the Newcastle fans just went to the ground for a few pints, a pie and a sing song despite the astronomical prices! 

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The ground from the outside looks pretty good and new, but still hasn't really got any wow factor or any real character like Villa Park for example but it certainly isn't naff looking like most new..ish ground such as the Reebok and the DW Stadium. On the inside again fairly similar story, no wow factor and it certainly doesn't feel as big as it actually is.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

After a fairly even start, City got an incorrectly awarded penalty which unsurprisingly Carlos Tevez converted. Jonas Gutierrez got a well deserved equaliser five or so minutes later. After half time, the game opened out and was end to end stuff. Adam Johnson later made it 2-1 to city. Then Shola was fouled in the area but a blatant penalty wasn't given so the game finished 2-1 to city. As per normal, the Geordies made themselves heard and for about 85 minutes of the game out sang the City fans who if I'm honest were truly quiet! There was no real problems with stewards, they seemed fairly laid back, and concourse was spacious and kiosks were ok, well staffed etc.. 

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Had an easy exit from the stadium, don't know if that would of been the case had we won. I got picked up at Ashbury's Station, no real traffic etc...

 7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Although we were beat i still enjoyed the day, it was a real good game. However, Eastland's is only what i would consider an average stadium. As for the trip I wouldn't put people off going but it certainly wouldn't be a high recommendation.

Manchester City v Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Monday January 10th 2010, 8pm
Peter Radford (Doing The 92)

I had visited the stadium for the Commonwealth games in 2002 and I was fascinated to see how it had been converted into a football ground.

I guess, as a Wycombe fan, I am used to having plenty of parking on offer 10 minutes walk from the ground. At Eastlands however the traffic around the ground was chaotic for this evening fixture and car parking options difficult to find. The snow lying in most car parks and alongside most of the roads didn’t help but I’m guessing that the experience is similar on a warm Saturday in April.

I had booked my ticket online and had to collect it from the shop on the North side of the ground. The collection point however was chaotic with people purchasing tickets for other matches and buying memorabilia from the shop.  What I thought was a leisurely stroll to a pre-match drink turned into a frustrating wait and a dash for my seat – there has to be a better way?

It is a new build but has a certain character due to the high sides and tiered design, probably better viewed from inside than outside. My seat at the highest point on the east side of the ground was however too far from the pitch to feel part of the experience (it reminded me of being in the top tier of the new Wembley).  

What made the occasion and justified the ticket price and queuing was the goal-scoring of Carlos Tevez.  The football was not great but in Tevez City have a player worth the 400 mile round trip alone. The home fans were in raptures which I guess made for a great atmosphere for those within 30m of the pitch who weren’t from Ewood!

Traffic was equally challenging after the game in the immediate vicinity of the ground however having parked on the west side of the ground it made for an easier escape west to the M6.

Impressive stadium but diabolical ticket collection system and make sure that you don’t end up with a seat up “in the gods”.

Final score: Manchester City 4:1 Blackburn Rovers  Attendance: 40,292 Ground No: 33 (of the 92)

Why not write your own review of the Etihad Stadium and have it included in the Guide? Find out more about submitting a Fans Football Ground Review.

*Originally built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Manchester City took up residence a year later.

Updated 30th August 2015

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