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Etihad Stadium
  Manchester City v Southampton
Sunday, August 19th 2012
Premier League 4pm Kick Off

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.

Are you an away or general football fan who has visited the Etihad Stadium recently?
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