City Blogger: Home, sweet home
- 29 October 2013 09:56
- Posted by @Bluewolf1894
Earlier this month news began to filter out that our club would be undertaking a small DIY weekend project, which would add no less than 12,000+ seats to The Etihad with ST prices starting as low as £299.
Mind you, other seats will see their prices rise in a couple of seasons, and whilst there are some unhappy Blues out there, we all knew it would happen eventually, particularly with Platini’s awesome idea of FFP now in force; way to go, Michel.
The Etihad is a wonderful stadium, which is soon to get even better, and it is our third home, although if one wished to be pedantic (and one is going to be), it’s really our eighth.
Maine Road was our home for the eighty years prior to The Etihad, and was nicknamed, when it opened in 1923, as The Wembley of the North with a capacity of 80,000. It was originally suppose to be as high as 120,000, but, after realising that would eat into the club’s alcohol budget, the plans were scaled back a little. However, the resident gypsies weren’t too impressed with City removing them from the patch of land they called home and so cursed the club; although it took them until 1973 to enact their revenge, which arrived in the shape of a TV salesman with a giant comb-over, and a terrific range of (egg-stained) brown and blue suits.
But over the years, this English Wonder of the World, underwent several renovations that drastically reduced the capacity, and was followed by a long period of neglect, resulting in a stadium that, although much loved by the fans, was loved in the sort of way you loved your teddy bear as a small child, which now looked more like something the dog had coughed up; it was a hodgepodge of a stadium with some original aspects of the 1920s mixed up with 1990s duct-tape, and with a good smattering of all the horrors and pleasures of every intervening decade. Perhaps if ADUG really wanted to impress the fans, they should rebuild the Kippax instead of this extension.
Prior to Maine Road, there was, of course, Hyde Road. This was our home from 1887 until a large part of it burned down, caused by a discarded cigarette (kids, huh?), forcing the club to find a new place. So impressive was the 40,000 capacity Hyde Road, that parts of it were still in existence at The Shay stadium in Halifax, as late as just a few years ago. Up until 1896 there were no changing rooms, so instead the players got changed at the local pub, this may explain the occasional heavy defeat we suffered. Of course when we initially moved in, City were known as Ardwick AFC, which is where the pedantry comes in.
Hyde Road was our first proper stadium because before that, the club (Ardwick/West Gorton/Gorton/St. Mark’s/whatever) had used five different pitches between 1880 and 1887. Now when I say ‘pitches’, what I actually mean is ‘a piece of ground large enough to have a kick-about’, and, no, it didn’t necessarily have to be flat either. We did play at Kirkmanshulme Cricket Ground for a short while though, but we were forced to quickly move on when the cricketers became fed-up being shown what a proper sport was by the manly footballers.
The very first pitch was at … well, no-one is actually sure. Not even Gary James is 100% positive about the exact location. We just know it was near Clowes Street in Gorton, so if you happen to live in that area, be careful what you do, because you could very well be standing on Holy ground.
The current lease at The Etihad runs until 2253, at which time supporters from all over the World will be logging themselves into their virtual seats and attendances will average around 470 million a match, and even more for top-of-the-table clashes versus the likes of Barcelona and Chesterfield.
We’ve come a long way since the muddy potholes and ‘jumpers for goalposts’ days, and what is soon to be happening at The Etihad is very exciting indeed. But every place we’ve ever had, has, and always will be, Home Sweet Home.
Tickets are still available for City v CSKA at the Etihad Stadium, which will go a long way to deciding the Sky Blues UCL group fate. They are priced from £33 for Adults and £17.50 for Under 16s.
Purchase online here, or call 0161 444 1894 option 1, option 1, option 2 (tickets purchased over the telephone are subject to a £2.50 booking fee per ticket), or visit the Ticket Office located on the first floor of the Etihad Stadium City Store.
For more details please click here.