Where do your children go on day trips from school ? On Monday 13th July Class 4 had a trip to see a stadium preparing for the new Premier League soccer season.
The stadium was built for the purpose of England staging the Commonwealth Games in 2002. The Commonwealth is a group of countries which used to be part of the British Empire . (Almost all those nations who speak English, for example : Canada , India , South Africa , Australia , Hong Kong , Pakistan , Jamaica , Kenya , New Zealand and many others)
The stadium is interesting in that, at first, it had just 2 tiers of seating but when the Games were over they dug deep into the ground where the pitch is now so that a third tier of seats could also be added. The bottom third is therefore below ground level.
The Queen opened the Games in 2002 along with David Beckham and her leather chair is still in position. Some people feel that because the Manchester Games of 2002 were a success, it increased London ’s chances of being selected as the Olympics venue for 2012.
There are air vents high up in the stadium which allow air to circulate during the week to help dry the pitch ( Manchester is a rainy city) but these are closed during games so the fans are not too cold ! There is a road underneath the stadium which ambulances use as well as the away team bus so it can enter the basement of the stadium.
The stadium holds 48,000 fans – it is the fourth largest League ground in England . (only Manchester United, Arsenal and Sunderland are bigger)
Sportcity is the name of this area of East Manchester where all the Games were held. The national squash and cycling centres are here and we visited the Velodrome where the British cycling team (including Chris Hoy) are based half of the year. Some of the team were arriving for training when we were there. In Sportcity there is also an athletics track and a tennis centre.
After the games, Manchester City F.C. reached an agreement to take over the stadium and leave their home in South Manchester where they had been for over 100 years. They are the only major English club to have been started by a woman – she believed the local men in the 1870’s needed something to occupy them to stop their habit of drinking and getting into trouble !
The exits are circular tubes, similar to the San Siro stadium in Milan , Italy . Our tour guide explained that this was because the ground can be emptied in 8 minutes in an emergency.
Regular fans are the boxer Ricky Hatton and Liam and Noel Gallagher of the band, Oasis. In our photographs you will see us outside one of the executive boxes where wealthy fans have a 4 course meal before matches, us sitting in the directors’ leather chairs and also by the side of the pitch.
Philip and the class 4 – Churchfields Primary Schoo l- Chesterton, Newcastle-under Lyme- UK