My family has always been big Manchester City supporters and for that we have my step dad to thank. With this in mind I was about 13 the last time I visited Manchester City that is half my life ago!!! When I got the chance to go on the behind-the-scenes Stadium and Club Tour I surprisingly got quiet excited about it. I say surprisingly as since I met D 10 years ago I don’t really have much to do with football anymore. D is one of those few blokes than doesn’t follow football, I’m actually quite glad of this as football seems to take over everyone’s lives. Fast forward to the day of the tour and my mum has had to work. I convinced D to come with us to the tour in my mums place and he enjoyed it!!!
When J was born there was a mini ‘fight’ between who would buy him his first City kit. Grandad or Uncle Ryan. Uncle Ryan got him some city baby-grows as a compromise.
On arrival we headed over to the Manchester City Shop as this is where the tour started from. J had fun wandering around watching all the machines that print onto the football tops. He had fun asking what all the buttons did and by the time we were leaving the shop he had told granddad he wanted several items including a City bed quilt.
The tour guide was called Lynne and she was lovely. She made everyone feel welcome and got the kids involved at the same time. We headed over into the stadium where we were shown around. We were told about how local Maine Road, The original City stadium, used to be and how Lynne worked there as well. We then went on to see the hospitality suite where people would have pre match meals including the special area that only VIPs would be allowed in. I couldn’t believe how grand this area was, I can imagine it being a great atmosphere on match days.
We then headed on out into the seating area overlooking the pitch. We had a great view of the stadium and Lynne was telling us all about its history including the fact it had originally been built for the olympics in 2002. All the seats are heated. Once J was told there was a switch he made it a personal mission to turn as many as he could on. I’m hoping there is a main override switch to turn them off as I’m not convinced I managed to turn them all off again, Sorry!.
We were informed that we were actually at ground level and that the olympics athletics track was excavated and the stadium pitch level reduced to create three tiers. When we were travelling back down the steps inside it made you realise how far below groudlevel we were actually going. We headed into the room that had this trophy in and Jtook great pride in standing in front of it, we struggled to get him out-of-the-way so others could take pictures.
We also got a chance to look around the changing rooms as well as several other rooms including the press conference rooms. It was interesting to find out about how conferences work and the addition sound proof rooms for radio interviews. We also go chance to go in the pre match training room. This room had Spin bikes as well as other exercise machines. This was a great part of the tour as it gave the children a change to score a goal, J actually kicked the ball and didn’t pick it up and run off as that is normally what happens.
We also went into the room that the away team use to train in, however City decided not to give the away team extra chance of training and removed it. We actually got to see the room set out as we visited the morning after a match. It was set out with food and drinks and a relaxed atmosphere. It was interesting to find out that normally, when not in use this room is used by a local dance school and has a mirror along the back wall. It’s great to find that the stadium helps local groups.
Just before we were about to enter the tunnel Lynne was explaining what it would be like on a match day and how hyped up the players would be. There was sound pumped into the room to make it feel like you were there on match day. The children lined up and shook hands as if they were on opposing teams. I loved finding out behind the scenes information such as every minute late City are getting onto the pitch they are fined, £3000 I think Lynn said but don’t quote me on that.
When we arrived we were told not to walk on the pitch and I think this was as close as my step dad dared to get. haha.
After the stadium tour J got to meet Moonchester and Moonbeam, he definitely had a preference for Moonbeam though, Sorry Moonchester. J has never really been scared of these mascot type things so he loved waving at them and shaking their hands.
We all had a fantastic time and I would highly recommend it to anyone. We had a few non City supporters on the tour so I would be interested to see what they thought of the tour. I actually really like the tour as it was about the history of the Manchester City and we learnt about what happens pre match. We were told about the footballers all staying close by the night before and being transported to the stadium in a coach. I found it very interesting as did my uninteresting in football husband.
*We were invited to attend the tour in return for our honest review. All photos and opinions are my own.