With my dad and older brother both being very interested in sports, I grew up surrounded by them playing football on our lane and watching sports on the television. Despite my occasional joining in and playing football and rugby in P.E, I have never been heavily invested in watching football.
However, when the World Cup was on earlier this year, I decided to watch England in the semi-final, in hind-sight probably not the best decision, as I ended up watching them lose their chance for a place in the final. This was my first experience sitting down and watching an entire football match, rather than half-heartedly asking my dad what the score was. Since then, my interest for sports increased and I occasionally watched a match on the television, but I was still by no-means an avid fan.
As my dad and brother are both Manchester City fans, they decided to get tickets to see Manchester City VS Southampton on 4 November at the Etihad Stadium on our visit up North. They asked me if I wanted a ticket, so figured I might as well go and experience a football match in person. With everyone assuring me that attending a match bolsters your excitement and enthusiasm for the sport, I became excited to go and watch Man City play.
On the day, we arrived early, giving us enough time to visit the City Store and grab a bite to eat before kick-off.
Upon arrival, our first stop was the City Store, as I wanted to get some form of City memorabilia to commemorate the event and my brother wanted to buy a retro City top. Navigating around the massive store, I bought myself a Man City scarf, officially marking myself out as a Man City fan.
We then sprinted over to see the players, and their legendary manager Pep Guardiola, arrive at the stadium. With reporters interviewing crowd members, the atmosphere was already buzzing and it only increased when the players were welcomed off the team bus and into the stadium. Each player exited the bus one-by-one and were greeted by the cheers and smiling faces of the fans.
After the players were inside the stadium, we heading over to a burger van to stoke ourselves up for the match ahead. Whilst eating, we wandered around the stadium, looking at Man City’s team history, which was displayed around the top of the stadium. We looked at the timeline of the team’s history, with one of their latest achievements being the reintroduction of their women’s team in 2014. With the history spreading across the decades, my dad was thrilled he could tell us all about City’s progression to success when he was a child.
With kick-off fast approaching, we headed into the stadium and had a classic pre-match drink. After this quick stop at the bar, it was time to head in and find our seats.
Having only ever seen a stadium on the television before, the size and height of the venue surprised me as we walked up the steps to navigate towards our seats. Before the match even began, the atmosphere was quickly picking up, with promotional videos playing on the screens to get fans excited for the match ahead.
As soon as the match began, fans began cheering and chanting, giving the players their total support from the starting whistle. The crowd went wild within the first six minutes, when Leroy Sané’s incredible cross turned into an own goal from Southampton’s Wesley Hoedt, a surprising start to the match placing City in the lead.
From then on, the match remained just as noteworthy, with City eventually triumphing upon the final whistle with a score of 6-1. Despite conceding their first goal in seven matches, when Danny Ing scored a penalty, it was an incredible outcome. I felt extremely lucky for my first match to have been so successful, and with all Man City fans leaving on an absolute high, Blue Moon was sung right out of the stadium.
With Raheem Sterling scoring two goals and winning man of the match, he put on an incredible performance, never faltering throughout the entire match, both scoring himself and setting up Leroy Sané for a goal in the 90th minute. Sané continuously worked alongside Sterling for the entire match, continuously reclaiming possession, setting up his teammates for goals and finally claiming his starring moment and scoring the final goal of the match.
Despite these two incredible performances, the most memorable moment of the match was when fan-favourite Sergio Aguero scored his 150th Premier League goal, only the ninth person to reach that applaudable achievement.
With there being a remarkable amount of goals during the match, I hardly wanted to move from my seat in case I missed something. My brother only moved during half-time to grab a pie, yet another match tradition, with us remained firmly in our seats the rest of the time, only standing up to cheer the team on and celebrate their victories.
All in all, it was an eventful and exciting match that was an amazing introduction into watching football. I would recommend attending a match to anyone who wants an introduction to the sport, or for anyone who has been dissuaded from watching football after seeing it on the television. The sheer scale of excitement and the tension of watching a match cannot be described until you are in a stadium yourself, cheering your team on and rooting for their triumph.
Needless to say I intend to attend more Man City matches, hopefully both the men’s and the women’s teams… I will just have to hope they deliver the same incredible performance next time.