Wednesday night is football night in Manchester, as Matt finds himself with three (3) tickets for the hospitality suite at the Etihad. Don’t ask how. Barbers keep secrets.

So I get to leave my usual seat in the top tier of Colin Bell stand and join the prawn cocktail plastics in the posh bit of City’s ground.

You get in quicker, get a little wristband and free programme, and a carefully curated beer menu.

OK, OK, it’s the same as the hoi polloi get, just in proper glasses, and there’s no craft apart from the 7 Brothers, but stop complaining.

But 91% of the beer being brought out from the bar is lager, same as in the real world, and Amstel is the only true accompaniment for a true pre-match meal.

£6.50 your pie and mash and peas from memory, and beer not much above Northern Quarter prices (double Kelham prices, of course).

This is the cheaper end of the hospitality market, giving you a nice seat with your pre-match pie and pint, and seems to be a treat for the old fellas and the well-off bloke dragging his girlfriend to the match.

And then you walk from the social club style bar to your padded seat and get distracted by Caitlin Jenner and goal flashes from Blackburn.

At half-time we dash to the bar and order 3 pints of Amstel (why not just have Bass pre-poured in the fridge) and hear a chat with Paul Simpson, an Ian Clarkson of the North.

We only miss 22 seconds of the second half, but the Amstel (which is actually OK when freed from the usual paper cups) sits heavy on our bladders. Luckily Premier League teams are allowed 18 substitutions these days and the loos are closer for hospitality, which is enough to commend it.

Will this make a good blog post ?” asked Matt as we semi-sprinted back to Piccadilly to catch the 22:20 (James and me, Matt practically lives at the station).

I doubt it” I said.


  1. How much is the corporate posho blackcurrant cordial? Although it is probably a pointless question as I couldn’t stand with that tellybox in my eyeline watching the game. Presumably I would be arrested if I through a brick at it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Did they ? I was going to matches just before lockdown and don’t remember that ! There was a rumour of craft beers from Manchester brewers early in the season but it was just the hospitality suites and the only non-lager option is a Se7en Brother can these days (£6).


      1. It isn’t open to the average punter. It’s basically a hospitality area. My brother in law who’s a season ticket holder at City told me you can buy one, or a hospitality package for a match, there, but as I say I don’t how expensive it is – pretty would be my guess.


      2. Thanks Matthew. You’re my most valuable commenter (today, so far). And you’re right, even though I doubted you. A beer from Beatnikz on the bar in that pic. Will have to do it, score it a 5 and get it in the GBG. If Manchester can have a pub that wasn’t open between March 2020 and October 2021 in the Guide (the Salutation) then the Ardwick is a cert.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wise words Dave 😃😃 happy to be mentioned in the same exalted company as the boy Simpson….
    I remember a particularly chastening afternoon at Blackpool Jane’s local with Kidderminster where we were 5-1 down with about 40 minutes left and Simmo was running the show!!
    A top feller

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As Tom says, the TV is very distracting – but weren’t those goal flashes from Blackburn marvelous on Wednesday evening?! Forest enjoying a rare spell of being called ‘in form’.
    How many levels of hospitality are there, and how long until you get to sit next to Noel Gallagher?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, good win for your lot.

      There seems to be at least 10 levels, from “pie on a plate and Paul Simpson at half time” to see the players before the game and have Noel write a song for you while you sip Cloudwater on cask.


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