A Legendary Tour
- 31 July 2012 12:38
- Posted by Chris Eccles
Hot on the heels of the successful launch of the new Stadium and Club Tour we get a sneak preview of the The Legends’ Stadium and Club Tour.
The Legends’ Tour is an access-all-areas look behind the scenes at the Etihad Stadium and Carrington training complex with a two-course lunch in an executive box. All in the presence of your very own City great.
Our legend for the day was Richard Edghill who made 183 appearances for the Blues between 1993 and 2002.
The full back´s 15 years as a City player span one of the most dramatic periods in the Club´s history, reflected by Richard´s experience of playing for the Blues in three divisions and witnessing devastating relegations and glorious promotions.
The tour starts with a film highlighting the history and values of the Club presented by great names from City's past, who still play a vital role at the club; City in the Community Coordinators Alex Williams and Paul Lake and Club Ambassador Mike Summerbee.
As the tour moves into the stadium we get our first glimpse of the Etihad pitch from the Director’s area of the Colin Bell Stand. Reclining in the comfortable, plush seats we learn all about the stadium with Richard providing an insight into how the pitch and stadium compare with Maine Road. Our legend describes the wonderful facilities in detail but , like all Blues, is unable to hide his fondness for the some of the more rustic charms of Maine Road.
As we descend into the depths of the stadium we pass the Youth Development area and a display detailing the career so far of Micah Richards. Richard described key moments from his own City career including his first game (a defeat to Blackburn) and his first goal (also his last, and only goal for City).
In the Press Room we see the desk where Roberto Mancini sits to face the world’s media and gain a valuable insight from our legend into how players interact with the press and how this has changed over the years.
Our next stop is the astroturfed warm up room where the players prepare just before a game. The presence of a ball and a goal resulted in a quickly arranged crossbar challenge competition. After all members of the tour party had tried and failed to hit the crossbar, Richard showed the permanence of class by nonchalantly approaching the ball with hands in pockets and hitting the target first time.
In the Home Dressing Room everyone selects the seat of their favourite player as we watch a video featuring Vincent Kompany and backroom staff about how the players are prepared for a match.
Sitting in the player’s inner sanctum we learn about the level of detail involved in modern day football. Players study opponents and tactics on iPads before kick-off and in the corner of the room aerial images of set pieces are instantly printed off for half-time analysis.
As we pass through the tunnel to the pitch, Richard explains how the open tunnel allows the players to soak up the atmosphere before they enter the pitch, one of the biggest changes from Maine Road. Once pitch side we get to inspect the wonderful Etihad playing surface at first hand.
With the stadium section of the tour complete we retire to an executive suite overlooking the pitch for a delicious two course meal where the conversation flows and we learn lots of interesting nuggets from our legend.
Afterwards we are taken to the Club’s state of the art training ground at Carrington where we are shown around by Ed Sulley, one of the Performance Analysis team. Ed and Richard tell us all about the development of the training site and we see inside the gym, dressing room and training pitches before heading for the Boot Room
The array of multicoloured footwear leads to a few comments about ‘only black boots in my day’ and also prompts my favourite story from the tour.
As a young apprentice, Richard cleaned the boots of Paul Lake and Gary Megson. It was customary for players to reward their impoverished boot cleaner at Christmas and after receiving a festive £60 from Lakey, Richard then received a miserly chocolate bar from Gary Megson.
On our return to the Etihad we grab a photo with Richard in front of the CityStore green screen as a lasting memento of a brilliant day.
The Legends’ Stadium & Club Tour gives you a rare insight behind the scenes at City and much much more. You also get a real feel for the ethos and spirit that drives the club forward and with a genuine City legend as your guide it is a unique and interactive experience.
Limited places are available on forthcoming Legends’ Stadium & Club Tours:
Thursday 2 August: Richard Edghill
Wednesday 15 August: Paul Lake