Maine Road

Maine Road: A History of Manchester City's Old Stomping Ground

As magnificent as the Etihad Stadium is, most Manchester City fans will refer to Maine Road as the club's main footballing haven. Home to the Citizens for 80 years, Maine Road was a traditional, old-school football stadium and many Blues fans will have mixed memories from their days on the terraces.

From Colin Bell's exploits in City's 1969 championship-winning season to the heart-breaking relegation on the final day of the 1996 season, fans will always have a soft spot in their hearts for Maine Road.

During their illustrious history, City have won four top flight titles, five FA Cup trophies and four League Cup wins. Two of those titles, one of those FA Cup trophies and two of those League Cup wins have come since moving to the Etihad Stadium.

City's new-found success is testament to modern football and the club's buyout but older fans will always class Maine Road as City's greatest venue. Success isn't everything for a football fan, the romanticism and history of Maine Road will forever be remembered.

Ironically, the record attendance at Maine Road was not for a City game but for arch-rivals United. During the Second World War, Old Trafford - home of the Red Devils since 1910 - was damaged and City kindly allowed their rivals to use Maine Road.

On January 17, 1948, Manchester United faced Arsenal here in front of 83, 260 spectators; a Maine Road and national record for a top flight game. But a lot has changed since then. Some would even argue that there has been a clear shift in power in the city of Manchester.

City now strut their stuff in front of the state-of-the-art football arena that is the Etihad Stadium. Pep Guardiola has built one of the strongest Manchester City squads of all-time and the Blues, currently eight points clear of arch-rivals United, are 1/6 to win the Premier League title.

Over the course of the season, City are likely to be short-priced favourites - both before matches and in live betting markets - and Blues fans may be celebrating a fifth title success come to the end of the campaign.

Even the most ardent of Maine Road romantics would find it difficult to remember City playing such attractive football; their current style is certainly worthy of their new stadium. Can you believe that it has been almost 15 years since City's final game at Maine Road?

On that day, the Blues were defeated 1-0 by Southampton on an emotional day for everyone connected with the club. That day was about so much more than that match though, it was a chance for City's fans to say goodbye to one of English football's great venues.

The Etihad has hosted its fair share of drama, Sergio Aguero's injury-time winner in the 2011-12 campaign immediately springs to mind, but Maine Road will always be City's spiritual home. Without Maine Road, there could be no Etihad Stadium and City's new fan base would do well to remember that.

One of football's traditional stadiums, like Stamford Bridge, Anfield and St James' Park, Maine Road deserves to go down in the annals. In terms of success, City's current home will rewrite the history books but their passionate fan base will never forget the exploits over the years at Maine Road.

Every football club has to move on at some stage but even now, 15 years on, you hear City fans talking about 'the good old days' back at Maine Road. Let's hope those stories continue for the next 15 years - Maine Road deserves it.

  • Share