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Milan Refuse To Give Up On Balotelli!
Mario Balotelli move to AC Milan may not be dead in the water.
The Italian forward has been continually linked with a move back to Italy following a series of high-profile bust-ups with manager Roberto Mancini.
Moreover, he has slipped in the pecking order behind Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero.
Although Rossoneri owner Silvio Berlusconi labelled Balotelli a ‘rotten apple’, the talk surrounding a proposed move doesn’t seem to have gone away.
Milan are looking to inject some energy into the squad with some new signings, although they need to offload some more players.
Agent Claudio Pasqualin believes Balotelli could still realise a move to Milan, if his client Abate is sold.
He told ESPN: “If Zenit raise their offer, then maybe something will change, considering Milan are looking for the cash to take Mario Balotelli.”
Reports emanating from Italy also suggested Milan could land Balotelli if Robinho was sold.
Balotelli has only managed a solitary strike in the Barclays Premier League this season.
Football FA Cup Fixtures:-
Millwall v Aston Villa 25th January 2013 Stoke v Man City 26th January 2013 Derby v Blackburn 26th January 2013 Huddersfield v Leicester 26th January 2013 Middlesbrough v Aldershot 26th January 2013 Norwich v Luton 26th January 2013 Reading v Sheff Utd 26th January 2013 Bolton v Everton 26th January 2013 Brighton v Arsenal 26th January 2013 Hull v Barnsley 26th January 2013 Macclesfield v Wigan 26th January 2013 QPR v Milton Keynes Dons 26th January 2013 Man Utd v Fulham 26th January 2013 Brentford v Chelsea 27th January 2013 Leeds v Tottenham 27th January 2013 Oldham v Liverpool 27th January 2013The Britannia - Stoke City
What Is It Like For Away Supporters?
Away fans are housed on one side (towards the Players Tunnel and Main Stand) of the Marstons Pedigree (South) Stand at one end of the ground, where around 2,800 supporters can be accommodated. This stand is shared with home fans on the other side. At first I was quite perturbed by a large sign advising fans that persistent standing would result in ejection from the ground, however the facilities and view of the action from this stand are good. The concourse is adequate and there is a large choice of refreshments available such as Wrights pies, sausage rolls, cheeseburgers, rollover hot dogs and chips. Alcohol is also available in the form of Carlsberg lager (bottle), Bitter (pint), Strongbow cider (can) and Smirnoff Ice (bottle).
The stadium is quite high up in an exposed position and the open corners can mean that a cold wind can whip through the stadium, so bear this in mind, especially in the winter months. I thought the inside of the stadium was quite disappointing being rather bland and lacking character, although I'm sure that this can be developed in time. Listen out though for the Stoke anthem 'Delilah' being sung by the home fans, they can still give a great rendition of that Tom Jones classic song.
It is also worth bearing mind though that the Stoke fans are passionate about their club and this can make for an intimidating atmosphere, so it is best to keep colours covered around the ground. Don't be surprised if you are kept in after the game, in a fenced off compound to the rear of the away stand, whilst the Stoke fans are allowed to disperse.
Where To Drink?Next to the stadium is a Holiday Inn and a Harvester Pub/Restaurant that do allow in away fans. You can also park at the Harvester itself for a cost of £3. A bit further away on Dennis Viollett Road (off Sir Stanley Matthews Way) is a Power League complex that also has a bar, which also allows in away supporters, shows SKY television and you can even park in their car park for £4.50. Otherwise alcohol is available on the concourses at the back of the away end, but queues can be lengthy, especially if there is a big support.
How To Get There By Car And Where To Park
Leave the M6 at Junction 15 and then go straight across the roundabout onto the A500 towards Stoke. Continue along the A500 passing the junction with the A34. Leave the A500 at the slip road following signs for the A50 towards Derby. At the top of the slip road turn right at the roundabout (still A50) and then move into the second from left lane (signposted Britannia Stadium). You can see the stadium over on your right. Turn right at the top of the slip road and then right at the next roundabout for the stadium. The Britannia is quite well signposted. Car parking at the stadium costs £5.
Matt Goldstraw adds; 'If you have a ticket for the official south car park, then after going onto the A500 towards Stoke from junction 15 of the M6, leave the A500 at the first junction and turn right at the large roundabout and onto the A34 towards Stafford. Go past the Bengal Indian Restaurant and after about a mile you will reach a small roundabout that on the right has the entrance to Trentham Awakes (previously known as Trentham Gardens). Turn left at the island and then continue straight up this road for about three miles. You will pass a golf club, a Toby Carvery, go over a railway bridge, over the canal and past an Esso garage. Then at a set of traffic lights where there is an obvious industrial estate to the right, turn left on to Stanley Matthews Way for the stadium'.Alternatively there are still some parking spaces at various commercial sites between the old Michelin Car park and the site of the old Victoria Ground. Bear in mind though that if you do park in this area then allow a good 20 minutes to walk (mostly uphill) to the stadium. If you are intending parking in this area then from Junction 15 proceed along the A500, passing the junction with the A34. The stadium will appear over on the right and then leave the A500 at the next junction and turn left to go down to this area.
Justin Herriman informs me; 'There are 300 parking spaces available (weekend matches only) at the Screwfix direct site on Stanley Matthews Way. The Screwfix direct site is based 1 mile from the ground and allows quicker access back onto the A50 after the game has ended. The cost for parking is £4 per car (no mini buses). If arriving from the M6, follow signs to the Britannia Stadium on the A50. Continue past the stadium for approx 1 mile and the Screwfix site is on the left. The post code for SatNav's is ST4 8GR.' Whilst Andrew Catmur adds; 'There is also car parking south of the stadium on Stanley Matthews Way between Screwfix and the Stadium opposite Pets at Home (Sat Nav ST4 8GR ). It costs £5 and you can get to this car park via Stanley Mathews Way from the A50 or Trentham Road. After the match all traffic goes south which means you avoid all the congestion by the stadium. See www.parkbythebritannia.co.uk for more details.
Andy Fenwick a visiting Sunderland fan adds; 'Don't be tempted to park on wasteland around the stadium, you may well end up as I did with a parking ticket waiting for you on your return'.
Stoke station is just over two miles away from the stadium, so unless you are feeling fit, it maybe best to hire a taxi. Tim Rigby a visiting Wolves fan adds 'there are some shuttle buses than run from Glebe Street in Stoke up to the Britannia Stadium, which depart every 15 minutes before kick off. There are return buses after the game back to Glebe Street from behind the Sentinel (East) Stand'.
Björn Sandström adds; 'To catch this bus, turn right from the station and head down Station Road. At the bottom of Station Road at the traffic lights, turn right to go along Leek Road (A52). Then go straight across the A500 dual carriageway and into Glebe Street which is straight across in front of you. You should then see the line of buses that will take you to the stadium. It is only about a five minute walk from the station'. The shuttle bus costs for a return ticket £3 Adults, £2 Concessions.
Colin Bell adds; 'It took us less than 30 minutes to walk to the stadium from the station, using this route: Turn right from the station and head down Station Road. At the lights, turn right along Leek Road (A52), under the railway line and then left down on to the tow path of the Trent & Mersey Canal. Follow the tow path all the way until you are level with the stadium, where two footbridges take you over the canal and then the railway line, straight into the ground near the South Stand away end.'
Source: Manchester City MAD
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