Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

High-Risk Game with Club's Heart and Soul ; - Fans Face Slap in Face with Pounds 60 Champions League Ticket Price

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

High-Risk Game with Club's Heart and Soul ; - Fans Face Slap in Face with Pounds 60 Champions League Ticket Price

Article excerpt

THERE'S been a lot to shout about for City fans since the club's historic takeover in 2008. Success on the pitch and a revolutionised infrastructure have positioned them as one of Europe's biggest and best sides.

They have won a clean sweep of domestic honours, become Champions League regulars and have a squad full of top-class players. Some of the football they have played has been wonderful.

The City in the Community programme, rooted in the values of the club founded in 1880 by two church wardens from St Mark's Parish Church - who recognised the need to engage young men in a part of Manchester suffering serious social ills - has been accelerated.

The club has never touched the lives of so many in the local area - with health, education and inclusion the initiative's watchwords. The work they do is worthy of serious praise.

They've also ensured they offer the best matchday experience in the country, with families catered for like never before. The launch of the CFA has seen their focus on youth intensified, and their commitment to the women's game outstrips every professional team in England.

The growth of every single aspect of the football club has been remarkable.

What should never be forgotten, though, are the fans.

Those who work all week and prioritise going to the game over pretty much everything else. Those who sat in a dilapidated Maine Road watching some of the worst football the club has ever served up. Those who sit in the current stadium and contribute to the Premier League being one of the most marketable sporting spectacles in the world.

Those who come from one of the most economically deprived areas of the country.

The reason the next Premier League television deal is worth an eye-watering Pounds 5.1bn is because the stadiums are always full. That should never be forgotten.

Yet the fans don't appear to be high up the club's list of priorities. Season ticket holders have reluctantly accepted a series of price rises in recent years and are dreading the impending announcement about next season. Some of them were moved out of their seats last summer to make way for more corporate seating. When you sacrifice as much as they do, decisions like that hurt - and the dyed-in-thewool fans are getting fed up. …

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