Another Attendance Record

On this day (18 October) in 2003 Manchester City scored 6 goals at their new home, the City of Manchester Stadium (now Etihad Stadium), for the first time. It was also the 6th consecutive record attendance for the new ground. There was also a sending off for Shaun Wright-Phillips. It was an odd day in some ways but you can read more below:

Although the game was 1-1 at half-time, City defeated Bolton 6-2 at the City of Manchester stadium.  The 6th was scored by Claudio Reyna in the 84th minute.The Bolton victory was notable from a stadium perspective as it also marked the sixth consecutive highest record breaking attendance for the venue.  Due to seating reconfigurations taking place throughout the early part of the season, a new record crowd for the stadium was set for the first five League games.  

The first competitive game (TNS, UEFA Cup) saw 34,103 – capacity had been restricted to about 35,000 due to safety legislation – followed by a record in every one of the following five League games staged – 46,287 (Portsmouth), 46,436 (Arsenal), 46,687 (Villa), 46,842 (Spurs) & 47,101 (Bolton).  Each of those matches was watched by a capacity attendance.  Over the following months further changes, such as reducing the size of the Directors’ Box, increased capacity further and the record crowd was broken again when Leeds United came on 22nd December (47,126) and then Liverpool (47,201) six days later.  Ultimately, the Chelsea game on 28th February became the season’s best with an attendance of 47,304.

Chelsea Vanquished

On this day (16 October) in 2004 eventual champions Chelsea were defeated 1-0 by Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium (now Etihad).  City were the only side to beat the champions during 2004-5 and managed to draw the return fixture 0-0. You can read more on the October game below:

By the time Chelsea arrived in Manchester on 16th October the Blues were 12th on 8 points, while the visitors were second, behind Arsenal, on 20 points.  Chelsea were also one of only two sides unbeaten in the League and were, without doubt, favourites to win this match.  Keegan optimistically told fans pre-match:  “It is still 11 against 11 on the day and we are more than capable of beating the top sides.”  

The manager’s views proved correct as City defeated the eventual champions 1-0 with an 11th minute penalty from Nicolas Anelka.  It was the first time Jose Mourinho had suffered a defeat at Chelsea and was only the second time his side had conceded a goal during 2004-05.  It was also City’s first home victory over the London club in the Premier League.  Sadly, Jihai Sun suffered cruciate ligament damage and was to miss the rest of the season.

The Jihai Sun injury was not the only one affecting Keegan’s side during the first half of the season and, as the Blues had one of the smallest squads in the Premier League, the manager found himself with few players to choose from at times.  

On This Day in 2003: Anelka

On this day (14 September) in 2003 two penalties from Nicolas Anelka helped Manchester City to their first League victory at the City Of Manchester Stadium (now Etihad Stadium).  The match with Aston Villa ended 4-1 and it also saw Anelka score the first hat-trick at the new stadium and the first penalty.

You can watch about ten minutes of highlights here: