The Etihad Stadium is the home ground of Manchester City Football Club with a capacity of 55,097. It’s the eighth largest in the United Kingdom.
The stadium is officially called the “City of Manchester Stadium”, however it was renamed the Etihad Stadium for sponsorship reasons. It’s located on the east side of Manchester, and has over recent years become the focal point for a larger sporting district, made up of Manchester City’s training ground and the UK National cycling centre.
Let’s take a look at the brief history of the stadium, and how Manchester City Football Club came to acquire the ground. Around 1989, plans were formulated to build an 80,000 stadium in Manchester as part of their bid to host the 1996 summer Olympic games. After the bid failed, plans were then submitted to host the 2000 Olympic games, which again failed.
Undeterred, Manchester City Council subsequently bid to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games, once again proposing the same site along with downsized stadium plans derived from the 2000 Olympics bid, and this time were successful.
Wanting to avoid a “white elephant” the stadium was converted after the 2002 Commonwealth Games from a 38,000 capacity arena to a 48,000 seat football stadium. This was re-developed at a cost to the Manchester city council of £22 million, and to Manchester City Football Club for £20 million.
The main costs of the project were the removal of the athletics track and pitch, and to move the seating closer to the proposed football pitch. The stadium also needed bars, restaurants and corporate entertainment areas, so the football club could maximise revenue.
As well as football, the Etihad Stadium in Manchester is known throughout the country for hosting major music events. Artists from all over the world have performed at the stadium, including but not limited to, U2, George Michael, Rod Stewart, Oasis, Foo Fighters, Take That, Pet Shop Boys, Bastille, Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Muse, Bon Jovi, Robbie Williams, One Direction and The Stone Roses.
Eithad Stadium Layout
For modern grounds in the United Kingdom, the Etihad Stadium has a ground-breaking and iconic design. The “toroidal-shaped stadium roof” is held together by a “tensioned” system, which gives the whole ground a unique characteristic. The stadium’s architectural focal point is the sweeping roof and support masts which are separate from the concrete bowl design itself.
For visiting supporters, its hard to not notice the tall supporting masts of the rood, before laying eyes on the stadium itself. The stadium’s interior comprises a “continuous oval bowl”, with three tiers of seating at the sides, and two tiers at the north stand, and the new three tiered south stand.
Speaking of the South stand, Away fans are located in one side of this stand, spread across the upper, middle, and lower tiers, where up to 3,000 fans can be accommodated. This can be increased to 4,500 for cup games. As you would expect from a modern ground, the view is actually very good. The pitch is pretty close, particularly in the lower tiers.
The facilities on the concourse are also pretty good. It’s spacious and you don’t feel “over-crowded”, one thing we really liked was the large plasma flat television screens showing the game while we had a bite to eat.
Speaking of food, there is the usual selection on offer; including Hot Dogs (£4.50) and a range of pies; Peppered Steak, Chicken Balti, Potato and Meat, plus Cheese and Onion (all £4 each). (Correct at the time of publication)
If you don’t want to eat or drink inside of the Etihad Stadium, then your best bet is to eat in Manchester City Centre. There is not a lot of pubs or eating establishments near the ground itself, which is a shame. Another downside is after the match itself. Home and away fans are kept apart immediately outside by a large fence which is erected by the Police. Although used for safety reasons, you may hear some norty words from City supporters, however this can be expected at any ground throughout the country.
The stadium is around three miles east of Manchester city centre. “Manchester Piccadilly railway station”, which serves mainline trains. It about a 20 minute walk away along a well-lit signposted route that is supervised by stewards close to the ground.
Fans travelling by tram from Manchester city centre should board services at Piccadilly Gardens, the journey taking approximately 10 minutes to the ground itself. The “Velopark tram stop” which opened in February 2013, also provides access to the southeastern approach to the stadium, as well as closer access to other areas of SportCity, such as the Manchester Velodrome and the City Football Academy.
If you don’t want to travel by train to the Etihad Stadium, you can always use the bus. There are many bus routes from the city centre and all other directions which stop at, or close to, SportCity. On match and event days “special bus services” from the city centre serve the stadium.
If you’re travelling to the Eithad Stadium from the south, leave the M6 Motorway 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.
If you’re travelling to the stadium from the M62, leave 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.
There is some parking available at the stadium itself which costs around £10 per car and £20 per minibus. The site has 2,000 parking spaces, with another 8,000 spaces in the surrounding area provided by local businesses and schools. On matchdays there may be parking restrictions, so usually its recommended to travel to the game using public transport.
If you want to find out more information regarding Manchester City Football Club, or the Etihad Stadium, please Click Here to visit their official website.