Manchester City announce Etihad expansion plans
City chiefs want to make the Etihad the third largest stadium in England by taking their capacity from 48,000 to 61,000.
The club’s ambitious owners are applying for planning permission to Manchester Council, who own the former City of Manchester Stadium, next month. If granted, work could begin as early as February 2014.
A glossy leaflet to be sent to fans reads: "Opportunities like this only happen once in a blue moon."
It added: "As the team grows, our fan base grows and our home has to grow.”
The Premier League club will add a third tier behind the goals of the Etihad Stadium's North and South stands. Tiers together will include about 13,500 seats, with fans able to join a season ticket waiting list for the seats next week. Bad news for Arsenal fans as the new stadium developments would take the Etihad’s capacity past the Emirates by a mere 649 seats.
Supporters have been reassured the construction would not disrupt any current season ticket holders or fans watching home matches. The tiers are expected to be completed for the beginning of the 2015/16 season.
Manchester City want to develop the stadium to meet the increasing demand for seats at the Etihad. The average attendance of 45,949 last seasons was nearly 2,000 under capacity but City are hoping that consistent success will lead to an upsurge in demand.
Arch rivals Manchester United are the residents of the current largest Premier League stadium, Old Trafford. United themselves have discussed an expansion which could take them to 95,000 seats but not official statement has been released.
In the meanwhile, City’s priorities lie with the completion of their new high-tech academy being built next to the Stadium. The campus includes 7,000-seater stadium for youth matches and 16 training pitches but is not expected to be complete for another three years.
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