Plans afoot for changes at Eastlands?

According to the M.E.N. yesterday, the next step in the ADUG revolution could be to announce changes at Eastlands. Talks between City and the Council appear to have been ongoing for a while now, covering topics such as providing training facilities at Eastlands, expanding the ground capacity, and naming rights for the stadium.

The training facilities on the land around Eastlands are likely to be the first change, and it will fascinating to see what the plans are. There is talk of state-of-the-art facilities (aren’t they always?), but I don’t see that there is a sufficient amount of space even if we go right up to the gasometer by New Viaduct Street. Top level facilities take up a fair few acres, with Everton, for example, having 10 full size pitches at Finch Farm.

The M.E.N. state that the Council would like to benefit from any expansion, “with one idea being the provision of artificial pitches for public use.”

This sounds similar to the arrangement we’ve enjoyed at Platt Lane, which has always been one of the better links with the local community. However, the lack of privacy wasn’t deemed suitable for the first team and was one of the main reasons Joe Royle pushed for the move to Carrington.

Having the first team go back to training in a city centre location would seem a slightly strange move. Carrington is an easier commute for our Cheshire based stars. Maybe the plans will be to move the Academy to the new facilities and scale back Platt Lane.

Selling the naming rights for the stadium would hardly be a surprise. Such things are part of the commercialisation of football that don’t sit easily with the traditionalists, but given the investment made by ADUG and their stated aim of promoting Abu Dhabi, I think it’s a small price to pay. The name ‘City of Manchester Stadium’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and is hardly part of the long term history of the club.

By far the most significant change would be the stadium capacity, although this is said to be a lower priority. The Guardian also had a recent article about talks to expand the capacity to 60,000 if games continue to sell out.

As I wrote previously, I think this should be the minimum figure, given Liverpool (eventually) and Spurs could be building something similar. If Michel Platini manages to push through rules linking permitted expenditure on players to revenues, we would clearly be affected. City may want to look at expanding the capacity, and resulting revenues, in time for any such rules.

There was an interesting comment on the MEN piece, saying how the current stadium design doesn’t lend itself to expansion. I’m no expert, but I would have thought this as well. There is also limited space behind the South Stand, due to the proximity of Ashton New Road.

The commenter also claimed to have heard that one idea was to build a new 80-90,000 stadium on the current car-park by the gasometer, and do away with the current ground. Now that would be radical! And I’m not going to start believing it until I see the diggers going in, but it’s still fun to speculate.

Afterall the ADUG people associated with City have experience in property development, and only our owners are capable of such a bold move. Clearly it would involve City purchasing the current stadium and land off the Council, and surely counters the idea of building training facilities on the current car-park.

I still remember the pull-out poster of a fantastic new stadium that came with a match programme in the Forward With Franny era. It was the old Third Division soon afterwards. Happy days.

  • Has anyone else heard anything on developments at Eastlands, or remember that stadium poster?
Picture of the day: Craig Bellamy
Carling Cup: Scunthorpe and the wider draw considered


  1. The training ground will be adjacent to the B of the bang, I hear ADUG have bought the Clayton Anoline site too so there is plenty of land there…hearsay of course!

    • Thanks for the comment, the latest I can find on the Clayton Aniline site, is that it’s owned by Harrow Estates who have planning permission for 1,100 homes on the 44 acres. Funnily enough, Harrow are run by Steve Morgan, the Wolves owner and former Liverpool director, and have just been bought out by Morgan’s main housing company, Redrow.
      Redrow buys owner of key East Manchester site

  2. with regards to expanding the existing ground

    i was told that 2 things could be done

    1- third tier on each end, which could be done with a small amount of interrruption

    2 – it is also possible to dig down further – ie lower the pitch and extend all four sides downwards / inwards as there is plenty of space to do so. But this would mean City being unable to play at Eastlands for a season.

    These adjustments would increase capacity to over 60,000.

    ps i was told this during the Thaksin days and at the time there didnt seem much liliehood of it happening

    • Hmm, I can’t see playing away from Eastlands for a season being likely. I know we let United play at Maine Road after they got bombed in WW2, but I think it’s fair to say that war-time spirit is long gone!

      A third tier at the ends could have more chance, but would need a major re-think of the roof. I’d be interested to see how that would work.

  3. I say go for the BIG one! Buy up COMS and all the land around from the Council (great for the Council) and Build a whopping new stadium there (great for jobs in a recession!). Keep COMS for the World Cup and decide what to do with it afterwards (turn it into a plush hotel for all us loyal supporters perhaps!) and let’s call the new stadium the DHABI ground (ha ha) – a bit like Arsenal have the ‘Emirates’, and very approriate once a season at least!!

  4. I’m not sure which one I would prefer. New stadium or expand the old one. I do agree that our owners if any are the ones likely to be able to buy the land and rebuild. I’m not sure axpanding downwards is going to be a great idea. The area is already prone to flooding and this could cause major problems. This could possibly be fixed with some sort of pumping station but I think it could be a problem that wouldn’t go away and would be a pain long term. Im sure ADUG’s experts will know more than me though and if anybody can do pumping stations it’s them.

  5. I believe the owners are adopting a wait and see policy. There is no doubt City will fill the stadium whilst we are doing well and I believe that if we continue to do well we could fill a 60,000 seat stadium which could be built easily by rasing the ends of the ground but how many more fans than 60,000 could we get?

    I think the owners will wait to gauge the size of the fan base, they won’t want to spend millions altering the stadium to 60,000 only to have to spend millons again changing it.

    I don’t think digging down is an option. That would be far to expensive and time consuming for the extra couple of rows it would create

  6. I say lets buy that tip in salford use it for a season as we re-build coms then knock the tip down, use it as a car park and float the fans over to coms on balloons flying on the spirit fumes from taggarts breath….

  7. The answer is simple. For us and any other prem club looking to increase the stada size. Get the FA to bring back standing. The new standing areas like they have in Germany are much safer than the old type would increase gates and also reduce prices

  8. Martin Grayfield
    26 September 2009 - 3:02 pm

    I think the building down idea is well passed it’s sell by date and achieves little in return.
    I am no builder or planner etc but would think that a new ground bigger n better than Liverpools plan would be great !! I would prefer them to build a new one near the old, keep that or let the Council use it. Regenerate even more of Manchester will do wonders for our support and for our PR

  9. I for one am totally against the renaming of our stadium and feel any City fan wanting it to change is clearly close-minded.

    The current stadium name says it all, it spells out to the world that this is Manchesters sole representative.

    I for one am deeply rooted against United, even my great grandfather, an Ardwick fan was quoted by my Grandfather as saying, United are a lie and total fake.

    CITY OF MANCHESTER stadium says it all, maybe my vote against wont be heard and our stadium will be renamed eventually but atleast i have aired my opinion on the matter.

  10. I think we could attract 80,000+ per game if our ticket pricing was fairer, like in Germany, Italy or France, etc… Like with most teams in England, it’s not lack of fan numbers, but lack of cash in fans pockets.

    In Germany, a ticket behind the goal costs approx £8-10 for Bundesliga games and local transport is free! For me, it’s approx £27 on a ticket and £5 on the tram. I spend possibly 3-4 times as much as a similair German!

    In reality, attendances in England are absolutely phenomenal, considering our football tickets are by far the most expensive in the World! The Championship is the 4th highest attending soccer league in the World despite being a 2nd tier league and having the 2nd most expensive tickets in the World after the Premiership!

    Make the North Stand a huge single tier ‘singing’ terrace of 15-20k, priced at say £12 a ticket, the backbone of our vocality. Then, make the rest of the ground a 3 tiered bowl similair to the Millenium Stadium, not waving up and down like the Emirates. Embrace the 12th man! Price tickets fairly. The place would be a fortress!

    If this is to be a truly exceptional stadium and £1Billion is being talked about with regards to regeneration, why not even build a retractable roof as well?

    We have such potential in terms of attendances, I hope it’s not messed up! We need our working class fans to attend!

    Average Ticket Prices:

    £34 English Premiership
    £16 Spanish Primera
    £13 German Bundesliga
    £12 Italian Serie A
    £ 9 French Premier League

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