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Etihad Stadium
  Manchester City v Everton
Monday, December 20th 2010, 8pm
Premier League

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!


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