Vital Football

Latest Arsenal FC News

A Vital Guide To....Etihad

A Vital Guide To....Etihad

Where next? Etihad Arena, Manchester City.

Where are we seated? Behind the goal in the South Stand, where 3,000 of us red and white clad will gather. The visiting supporters will be split between the upper and lower tiers. Tickets are £51 each. Thanks FFP!

What`s It Like? The stadium is less than ten years old, so you can imagine it`s decent. City appear to have overcome the fact that it wasn`t designed specifically for them, at least on the inside. A literati of banners envelope the upper tiers to lend it that imposing feeling. Some are quite good, ("This is our City" for one), others vomit inducing. ("Manchester Fans Thank Sheikh Monsour" directly opposite the Director`s Box is one of the most pathetic things I have ever seen in a football ground. Worse than the North Bank façade).

But the stadium has a pleasing elliptical shape that makes sight lines good from all areas of the ground, particularly the upper tiers. However, the outside of the stadium and the concourses do rather give away that this was not purpose built for Manchester City. It does look a bit like a car park from outside and the staircases- in the away section anyway- are bare grey concrete.

What are the facilities like? Adequate. Concourses are roomy enough, plenty of leg room with a steep enclave of seats, which makes sight lines good even if you`ve got Peter Crouch sitting in front of you. Food and beer was certainly cheap enough last year (particularly if you reside in Laaaaandan and are used to being routinely ripped off for everything). But with FFP in effect and City looking to meet requirements, driving revenue from supporters is pretty much your best way of doing it. Hence the rise in ticket prices, I wouldn`t be surprised if food and drink had gone up too.

Nowadays, the police separate home and away fans on their way out of the stadium as they make their way towards the adjoined car park. This can sometimes lead to the odd unpleasant exchange. Everyone gets braver when there`s a fence in the way. But on the whole, City`s is a stadium boasting all mod cons.


What are the home fans like? The atmosphere isn`t quite what it was at Maine Road, probably due more to a wider malaise in modern football than anything specific to City fans. For evening games, they dim the lights for a tingling rendition of Blue Moon as the teams emerge from the tunnel. It`s one of the few 'interactive` attempts at getting an atmosphere generated inside a stadium that I have ever actually seen work.

Clearly we liked City fans much better when Arsenal used to roll up, spank them 5-0, both sets of fans sing about how much we hate Man United together and then went home again. But match going City fans are still a good bunch generally. There`s a buzz on the forums that City fans have lost their legendary humour with money and success. In truth; that impression is probably inflated by our own resentment.

How to get there? On this occasion, me and mine shall drive. A return train journey to Manchester Piccadilly on a Sunday will set you back north of £70. If you are to get the train, the ground is around a 20-25 minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly, or else you can grab a local train from Piccadilly to Ashbury`s, which is closer by. If you want to get a club coach, you will have the luxury of being parked yards away from the away turnstile in the club car park.

Any historical landmarks? There is a memorial garden next to the ground, which includes a touching remembrance of Marc Vivien Foe. But the ground really is in the arse end of nowhere, so not really. It`s still situated more pleasantly than Maine Road was though. Police used to have to escort away support from their turnstile after matches at the old ground due to its proximity to the ugly end of Moss Side.

Where to drink? There`s precious little in the way of pubs close to Eastlands and the ones that do linger in the shadow of the arena are generally home fans only. Your best bet is to drink in the city centre. Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria have an array of pubs with nearby public transport networks to bus you to the ground. Apparently the Townley pub on Albert Street is doable if you aren`t visibly in away colours. But if, like me, you have a notable London accent, best to don shades and a parka and give it your best "ah reet r kid?" accent when ordering beer in there. LD.



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Friday September 21 2012
Time: 12:14PM

Login to post a comment

Recent Arsenal Articles

Are Players Set For A Football Exit?

With the country narrowly voting to leave the European Union in Thursday's Referendum, there are certainly plenty of real questions that have to be addressed in terms...

Back To The Drawing Board After Vardy Snub

Gunners search for a striker continues

Six Clubs Set 2015/16 Premiership Records

Who were the six clubs to register a record breaking or equalling 2015/16 campaign?

Xhaka Likes To Beat Manchester United

Who doesn't?

Archived Vital Arsenal Articles

Vital Arsenal articles from

Site Journalists

Rocky7
Editor email
Profile
ClockEnd124
no email
Profile
Amos
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Player of the Year
Suggested By:
Petr Cech4%
Hector Bellerin7%
Mesut Ozil78%
Alexis Sanchez8%
Olivier Giroud3%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Leicester City 38 23 12 3 81 32
2 Arsenal 38 20 11 7 71 29
3 Spurs 38 19 13 6 70 34
4 Man City 38 19 9 10 66 30
5 Man Utd 38 19 9 10 66 14
6 Southampton 38 18 9 11 63 18
7 West Ham 38 16 14 8 62 14
8 Liverpool 38 16 12 10 60 13
9 Stoke 38 14 9 15 51 -14
10 Chelsea 38 12 14 12 50 6
11 Everton 38 11 14 13 47 4
12 Swansea 38 12 11 15 47 -10
13 Watford 38 12 9 17 45 -10
14 WBA 38 10 13 15 43 -14
15 Crystal Palace 38 11 9 18 42 -12
16 AFC Bournemouth 38 11 9 18 42 -22
17 Sunderland 38 9 12 17 39 -14
R Newcastle 38 9 10 19 37 -21
R Norwich 38 9 7 22 34 -28
R Aston Villa 38 3 8 27 17 -49
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Arsenal Results (view all)

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Naijagunner7
2.Mike2942
3.Joe_@**1
4.Louis9991
5.princeoflove9091