Members of St. Mark's Church of England, West Gorton, Manchester, founded the football club that would become known as Manchester City, for largely humanitarian purposes. Two church wardens sought to curb local gang violence and alcoholism by instituting new activities for local men, whilst high unemployment plagued East Manchester, specifically Gorton. All men were welcome to join, regardless of religion. A church cricket club had been formed in 1875, but no equivalent for the winter months existed. To rectify this, and as part of Rector Arthur Connell's general push to intervene in social ills, church wardens William Beastow and Thomas Goodbehere started a church football team called St Mark's (West Gorton) (sometimes written as West Gorton (St Mark's)) in the winter of 1880. The team's first recorded match occurred on 13 November 1880, against a church team from Macclesfield. St. Marks lost the match 2–1, and only won one match during their inaugural 1880–81 season, with a victory over Stalybridge Clarence in March 1881. The summer of 1887 turned out to be one of great change for the infant club, with change happening on three fronts. For a start, the club had once again been turfed out of their playing location and needed a new area to call their home. After some searching, one was eventually identified near to a railway viaduct in Ardwick. While the field initially was unimpressive, being uneven and muddy, either necessity or ambition finally won the day and a rent was agreed upon at a rate of £10 for seven months. The new location was close by the Hyde Road Hotel, and the club soon struck up a good relationship with the hotel's landlord, Stephen Chesters-Thompson, who allowed them use of his hotel's facilities in exchange for the club officially basing themselves there, and later on receiving the license to run all of the new stadium's bars. It was to be the start of a long link between the landlord and the club, and the businessman would work his way into the club's leadership before long. Another offshoot of the link with the Hyde Road Hotel was to be the club acquiring its first (recorded) nickname - they would continue to be known as The Brewerymen for some time. The first match at the brand new Hyde Road stadium was chosen to be against Salford A.F.C. on 10 September 1887, but the "grand opening" of the new ground was a non-event as Salford failed to turn up.
The second change to the club was to be to their name. No longer based within the limits of Gorton, it was decided that to continue to go by the name Gorton Association Football Club was now a misnomer. Consequently, the club officially renamed themselves Ardwick Association Football Club, inheriting the name of their new home district in place of the old. The final change related to their pay structure. While the club had officially been amateur since its creation, for the first time in 1887 it was decided to award one player a weekly salary of 5 shillings for his services, the club thereby becoming a professional organisation. In 1889 an explosion at the nearby Hyde Road coal mine resulted in the death of 23 miners with Ardwick and Newton Heath, who both later became City and United, playing a friendly match under floodlights in aid of the disaster fund. The 1888–89 season was also to see the construction of the first stand at the new ground, though it held a capacity of only 1,000. Deciding to take the biggest step yet in building a winning team, manager Lawrence Furniss and wealthy backer John Allison undertook a scouting trip to Scotland to search for players of a better level, who would push the team's on-pitch performance up another notch, ending with a return to England where they also looked at the squad of then-leading north-west side Bolton Wanderers. The trip was successful and several of the players they signed on would go on to be leading names for the club over the next few years, including goalkeeper William Douglas, David Robson and notable if temperamental England international David Weir. Ardwick gained wider fame in 1891 by winning the Manchester Cup for the first time, defeating Newton Heath 1–0 in the final. This success proved influential to the decision by the Football Alliance to accept Ardwick as a member for the 1891–92 season. The Alliance merged with the Football League in 1892, and Ardwick became founder members of Division Two. Financial troubles in the 1893–94 season led to a reorganisation within the club, and Ardwick turned into Manchester City, with Manchester City Football Club Limited formally becoming a registered company on 16 April 1894.
The club was growing at a rapid pace and in 1895, within a year of the club's inception, the club started to attract crowds of over 20,000 with the biggest attendance of 30,000 for a Good Friday fixture in 1895. The Manchester City supporters of this time were known to be exuberant fans of their club, often transferring their enthusiasm for the club into creating a loud atmosphere at Hyde Road, often with their bugles and drums whilst some would occasionally wear fancy dress. Manchester City offer guided stadium tours around the Etihad Stadium, that include visits to the dressing room, players’ tunnel, directors’ box, press conference room, and the dug outs. Tours run every day of the week between 10:30 am and 3:30 pm (3:00 pm on Sundays), though different schedules can apply, in particular on matchdays. Complimentary headsets are provided at the Etihad Stadium upon request to enable supporters to listen to the audio match commentary and can be ordered through the Club’s Access Officer. Upon request the Club will take steps to provide accessible information on CD, large print and Braille. Where the supporter is Over 14 and the need for personal assistance has been identified, the personal assistant (who is responsible for your care), is admitted free of charge. There are 252 wheelchair positions in the Etihad Stadium (excluding private viewing boxes). Home supporters Level 1 - 135, Level 2 - 68, Level 3 - 28; Visiting supporters Level 1 - 12, Level 2 - 9. There are 5 accessible entrances at the Etihad Stadium: D, H, M1, S and W doors, all of which are clearly sign posted. For supporters located on Levels 2 and 3, a lift is available at these entrances. Please note: that whilst every effort is made to allocate assistant seats adjacent to the wheelchair bay some Etihad Stadium seating constraints may apply and as such, the assistant seat will be allocated in the closest available location. For example, there may be 3 wheelchair bays, then 3 carer seats. There are 66 home bays available at the Academy Stadium for wheelchair users:
Location : Etihad Campus, Manchester M11 3FF
Transport: Etihad Campus (Metrolink). Picadilly Station (National Rail) then Metrolink or bus. Bus routes 53, 54, 185, 186, 216, 217, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, X36 and X37 stop outside. After the match buses to the city centre will depart from Ashton New Road next to the South Stand.
Capacity : 55,000.
Tickets : Cityzen club members. Viagogo for resale. Guided Tours - £16.00
Tel: 0161 444 1894