New Ground number 142
First visit – 3/3/17 Manchester City EDS 3-0 Everton EDS (Premier League 2)
This is a ground that I have been planning on visiting since it opened as part of City’s training ground relocation a couple of years ago. I managed to find a vaguely competitive occasion to do so as well, with a Premier League 2 (reserves to me and you) game between City (2nd in the league) and Everton (top with a 6 point cushion). I also had some good company with my friend Andy Maggs who I know from uni (Everton fan) and his work colleague Kieran (City fan – ish)
As expected, City have done a good job with this place. I never expected to go to a reserve game and have to scan a bar code on my ticket to get in! and there is a sense that everything has been done to make this feel like a proper ground.
Behind both goals is an area of terracing, which is great to see in an increasingly all-seater football environment. It would have been great to have been able to use this, but the powers that be had decided that half of one stand would suffice for this one (they were right). Along both sides are good sized stands with a few thousand seats and even the odd corporate box.
There is also an ‘exclusive’ bar area (which looked nice and warm) for VPs and season ticket holders – I say exclusive, I’m not entirely sure, all I know is they didn’t like the look of me as I tried to get through the velvet roped off area at half-time to buy a hot chocolate – ‘not for you son’.
The ground is also easy to get to from the main stadium, a handy bridge links the two; and you can even park for free. The pitch is excellent as you might hope given the resources at their disposal and everything is in place to make this an excellent venue for youth, reserve and women’s football – as new grounds go, this is a good one.