Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Friday December 31 2010
The City of Manchester Stadium - Manchester City
The world's richest club, 2nd in the table, players earning more in a week than our squad put together, surely the result's a formality, but we are Blackpool. Not so much of the 'little old' gets mentioned recently. Saturday's game sees a match between two teams in the top 8. Not forgetting the 3 games in hand on some teams, yes it's tight, yes we must surely hit a bad patch at some point, yes everyone we play has a bad day at their office over recent months but, eat some coal, stroke a furry foot and sing that song with the hint of a Jockenese twang, City used all their luck up at Bloomfield earlier on this season, fingers crossed our joker of a manager can pull yet another ace out of up his sleeve or as Pullis says - 'roll a double 6'.
I can't quite imagine T'Rovers owners buying the recent Commonwealth Games stadium and putting the world's richest footballers on it and calling it home. They instead took over the house that Jack built and City have done something similar.
They moved from Maine Road in to this modern ready to go ground in 2003. Eastland is a name that's stuck when it didn't have any official name. Originally designed to be part of our failed 2000 Olympic bid it was built as part of the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Plans to build a stadium in east Manchester were muted around 1990 as part of the city's bid to host the 2000 Summer Olympics; Manchester City Council commissioned a design for an 80,000 capacity stadium on a brownfield site known colloquially as Eastlands.
However, in October 1993 the games were awarded to Sydney, Australia. Manchester subsequently made a successful bid to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games, using the stadium plans from the Olympic bid.
In 1996, the planned stadium competed with Wembley Stadium to gain funding to become the national stadium, but the money was used to redevelop Wembley.
The stadium's foundation stone was laid by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in December 1999, and construction began in January 2000.
The stadium was designed by Arup and constructed by John Laing at a cost of approximately £110 million, £77 million of which was provided by Sport England, with the remainder funded by Manchester City Council.
For the Commonwealth Games, the stadium featured a single lower tier running around three sides of the athletics track, and second tiers to the two sides, with an open-air temporary stand at one end.
The first public event at the stadium was the opening ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games on 25 July 2002 when the Queen was present.
After the games finished the club spent some money, ripping up the running track (I suppose they just wanted not to be reminded of The Shay) adding 10000 extra seats and although still owned by the council it is leased to City. The financial 'terms' of the lease are rumoured to be renegotiated in January.
Maine Road was an intimidating place and many older fans compare Eastlands to the Riverside as being a modern but soulless place.
Room for 47,726, we long sold out our 3000 allocation and will be located on both the lower and upper tiers of the South Stand.
How To Get There
M55, M6 South. At J31 on to the M61, join the M60. Leave the 60 at Eccles interchange and at J3 turn left on to Regent Road. Join the Mancunian Way and after 2 miles bear left onto Pill Mill Brow (A665). Less than a mile turn right onto Pollard St (A662) then left onto Rowsley St then right onto Citizens Lane. Turn Right on to Eastlands Way.
For the sat navvers - M11 3FF.
For the Virgin lovers amongst us - Manchester Piccadily is a 25 minute walk away.
The buses from Piccadily Gardens (the 216) take about 10 minutes.
Where To Drink - very little around the ground. The Stanley near the Asda and The Townley (5 mins from the ground) are two that do let away fans in.
Manchester centre has an abundance of the usual haunts, The Printworks etc.
Ale is on sale inside the ground.
Plod & Stewards - fans are close together if any banter gets out of hand no doubt it'll be the away fans hoiked out. Plod will have it organised with clinical efficiency.
Fear Factor Rating - 5. Outside afterwards can be leery.
It's the first day of the year, and I don't think anyone wanted 2010 to end. What a year, finally we're living our dream. Here's hoping come 5pm we've seen the year start with the biggest of bangs and the moons shining a tint of tangerine...
Onwards + Upwards
Date:Friday December 31 2010
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