Earlier this week, we got a first glimpse at Manchester City’s glass tunnel, which is being built in the Colin Bell stand. While some fans seem quite excited by the idea, which follows a concept first used by the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, I remain thoroughly unconvinced by it.
Members of the Tunnel Club will be able to sit and enjoy a pre-match meal and a drink in an exclusive lounge with a glass wall at one end, through which they’ll be able to see the players lining up in the tunnel. They will then make their way to what the club is calling the “best seats in the house” right by the City bench through a tunnel of their own.
“Everything about The Tunnel Club is impeccable,” says the club’s official blurb.
“From the finest food and drink, to the immaculate service, this immersive football experience is the perfect environment for building business relationships, consuming world-class sport, or simply spending time with the people that matter most.”
City were renowned in the past for being a club which put its fans first but over the past few seasons, they’ve slowly started to become more and more corporate. It all started with the Jamie Oliver inspired £5 burgers, then more hospitality areas being created in the Etihad, and now this.
At £7,500 for a season ticket, the Tunnel Club experience won’t be available to the normal fan unfortunately but while the concept seems quite interesting at first, who would really want to sit and gawp at the players milling around in the tunnel anyway?
Honestly, pre-match build up is about getting to your seat early, singing the songs and dreading what the next 90 minutes of football might hold, not staring at players shaking their legs in the tunnel before walking out.
City already give fans an experience of what goes on between players in the tunnel with ‘Tunnel Cam’, so why do fans want to be looking at players through one-way glass like they’re animals in the zoo?
The top tier of English football is increasingly moving further and further away from the working class supporters it originally catered for but, with their comparatively reasonable ticket prices, City seemed to be a club which was staying as true as possible to its roots.
However, the years since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover have seen a slow shift towards the corporate side of the game. Last season’s £60 tickets for City’s Champions League fixture against Paris Saint-Germain were just the tip of the iceberg and it’s unlikely that the pricey Tunnel Club tickets will take the financial strain off the rest of us.
This is perhaps to be expected given City’s owners are trying to make the club a footballing superpower, but there are some changes which go too far and unfortunately, if you ask me, this glass tunnel is one of them.
Written by Matt Astbury
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