Last Christmas I spent days shopping for my incredibly difficult to buy presents for husband. In the end, I decided to give him the perfect gift, an Etihad stadium tour, the home of his favourite football team, Manchester City. As recommended by a friend, I bought a voucher from Buy a Gift for the experience for the bargain price of £35.00 for two adults (which included a souvenir photograph). Tours can also be booked direct through the Manchester City website for a similar price. The benefit of buying the voucher was that my hubby had 10 months to choose and book a date for the tour. Inevitably, he left it until the 10 months was almost up until he booked!
Etihad Stadium Tour
I can honestly hand on heart 100% recommend this tour to anyone. I myself am not interested in football at all, yet I found the Etihad stadium tour absolutely fascinating. Out of the 5 of us on the tour, only my husband was a city fan (apart from the tour guide who was, like Brian, a life-long follower of the club). The others on the tour included a Chelsea fan, an American tourist as well as a Chinese tourist. Apparently, visiting stadiums, particularly those of the big English clubs, is a hobby of some.
The tours are said to last approximately 90 minutes (to our delight ours ran over by around 20 minutes). I would recommend booking the first tour of the day as these are usually much quieter. In fact we spotted the second tour group of the day with approximately 20 people compared to our 5. I won’t reveal every aspect of the tour in case you would, hopefully, like to experience it for yourself, however, I’d love to share an idea of what to expect.
I must say something about Mike, our tour guide; he was absolutely wonderful. Mike was a fountain of knowledge regarding all things Manchester City as well as providing an in-depth knoweldge of the Etihad stadium itself. He was able to answer every question that was asked. Anyone could tell that Mike loves his job and his dedication to the club was clearly evident. His passion for Manchester City made the tour an incredibly lively and informative one.
We were shown around both the home and away dressing rooms in the Etihad. We were able to sit where the players sat as they prepare for their matches. Mike pointed out the interesting differences between both sets of dressing rooms!
Home Dressing Room
Away Side Dressing Room
It was interesting to see how much preparation goes into each match. The warm-up routines of a number of players was revealed.
We were also shown around the medical rooms.
Perhaps the most emotional aspect of the whole Etihad stadium tour for Brian was walking out of the tunnel and towards the pitch. Sounds as the players experience them on match days were played through speakers so it made the experience rather surreal.
Brian even got to sit in the Manager, Pep Guardiola’s pitch-side seat (heated of course!)
The Press Room
The fascinating aspects of holding a press conference were explained to us.
Brian was also presented with the ‘Man of the Match’ award!
The Gift Shop
Having been on the tour, we were offered a 10% discount in the Etihad gift shop. I was pleasantly surprised by the prices in the shop; I had expected to pay something extortionate for a t-shirt for my 4 year old, but I was pleasantly surprised to find they were only £15.00 before our discount had been applied.
The staff in the stadium shop were all extremely friendly and helpful.
To conclude our little review of the tour; Brian has mobility issues and as a result, we were able to park within the stadium ground. The tour included little walking with regular stops. In fact for the majority of the tour, we were sat down.
The Etihad stadium tour was overall extremely informative and interesting. If you’re a wife looking for a perfect gift for your husband, I can highly recommend a stadium tour (it’s surprisingly enjoyable for us too!)