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City DNA #33: The Gene Kelly Stand

City DNA #33: The Gene Kelly Stand
It's probably fair to say only Manchester City fans would christen a temporary seating area 'The Gene Kelly Stand'.

This might raise one or two questions, one being 'who was Gene Kelly?'

Any younger City fans maybe thinking he was a fearless captain from yesteryear that merited naming a stand at Maine Road after, would be disappointed.

Nor was this a founder, former manager or local hero of world renown - none of those esteemed positions would result in the true identity of Gene Kelly.

Hollywood musical fans, grandparents or mums and dads born before 1970 know who Gene Kelly was, but it was the humour of the Maine Road faithful that named a temporary stand after the famous actor/dancer/choreographer of film and stage.

The reason is simple.

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One of the most famous musicals of the 1950s was the classic 'Singing in the Rain' - starring Gene Kelly, of course - and, taking into account the Mancunian weather and the fact the temporary stand had  no roof, the association is clear.

On matchdays, those sat in the Gene Kelly Stand would invariably be singing in the rain. And therein lies the answer.

                        City DNA #33: The Gene Kelly Stand

In 1994, the Kippax was demolished and a new all-seater stand was built in its place.

The capacity had been substantially reduced as a result, bearing in mind the Kippax terrace could probably hold 25,000 on a good day - maybe a few thousand more - and the all-seater Kippax housed maybe a third of that.

Though the intention had been to fill the gaps either side of the Kippax with a roof that joined all the four stands together, that plan never came to fruition, especially when the relocation to Eastlands was announced.

To meet demand, a temporary stand was erected between the Kippax and North Stand in 1997.

It offered around 2,000 extra seats, but anyone sitting there was subject to the elements in all their glory.

It took a hardy soul to sit in the Gene Kelly Stand with hail, snow, high winds - but most of all rain - a continued issue.

The Club would offer plastic see-through ponchos on rainy days and this gave those gathered their own, unique look on matchdays. 

The truth was, if you were being soaked by wind and rain and the Blues were losing at home to Wycombe, singing wasn't high on the 'to do' list of the long suffering Gene Kelly fans.

Shivering in the rain would have been more apt, but the stand would still become ingrained in the Blues' DNA and the mere mention of it to this day will result in the odd wry smile - or shiver down the spine...

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