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 Atmosphere report

Manchester City - Manchester United (0-2)
Premier League, 13 February 2005
Stadium : City of Manchester Stadium
Attendance : 47.111

We arrived at the stadium about 2 hours before kick-off. There weren’t many people outside the stadium at this time yet. The stadium looked pretty nice from the outside. The entrances looked like those of the San Siro in Milan, only a lot smaller.

We collected our tickets (34 GBP) at the Ticket Office, bought a match programme, some fanzines and a much needed City scarf. We noticed that it became a bit more crowded at the main entrance of the stadium. It turned out to be that the City players arrived here one by one. We saw the Wright-Phillips brothers, Dunne, James and Danny Mills entering the stadium before we decided to enter the stadium ourselves as well. This was maybe an hour before kick-off and still we were one of the first to enter the stadium.

Our seats were great! First row of the 3rd Tier of the Colin Bell Stand with a perfect view on the pitch. There were some small stores where you could get something to eat/drink and they even had a betting office inside the stadium.

The pre-match entertainment was a bit poor. Some kids of both clubs took penalties on a small goal with club mascot 'Moonchester' as the goalkeeper. The stadium was still pretty empty at this time until about ten minutes before the match when the stadium filled up.

5 minutes before the match there was a surprise for the City fans. Multi-derby goal scorer Shaun Goater presented the award for the 'most important City goal ever' to Paul Dickov who scored the winning goal for City in the Play-Off Final against Gillingham in 1999. The presence of these past heroes was a good way to get the atmosphere going.

'Welcome Manchester, it’s Derby Day !'
The speaker welcomed us and started to mention the names of the players who would start the match today. All United names where booed at and of the City line-up especially Shaun Wright-Phillips' name was cheered.

A few seconds later the players entered the pitch. The atmosphere was great and the whole stadium was singing. You could here 'Blue Moon', 'Come on City' and 'USA, USA, USA' referring to the recent take-over bid for Manchester United by American billionaire Malcolm Glazer.

The game itself was pretty poor which didn’t help the atmosphere. City wasted some big chances in the first half. In the second half Ronaldo, Giggs and Rooney made the difference. Rooney and an own goal from Dunne sealed the match for United. The first half the atmosphere was great but after the United goals everybody was down and a lot of people had already left the stadium 5 minutes before the end of the match.

I have to say that in the seconds after the goals, the City fans started singing really loud in order to inspire the team for a comeback but it didn’t help them in the end. When the referee blew the final whistle the United players celebrated the win with their fans while most City players immediately left towards the dressing rooms.

The only troubles we had seen this derby day were a few incidents after both goals when cheering United fans were discovered in City sections of the ground.

It was a great experience although the match wasn’t very inspiring.

Report added : 19 February 2005
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