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Crowd pleasers: City's record attendances

The Etihad expansion programme which has been underway for all the 2014/15 season and over the summer months is set to attract record numbers to the stadium during 2015/16.

Though an exact figure is not possible to calculate at this point due to on-going work and repositioning of the scoreboard, it is expected that City’s new capacity will be approximately 54,500.

Along with the 6,000 new seats created by the South Stand’s third tier, up to 1,500 new seats have been added to the front of each stand around the stadium.

That means there will be approximately 7,500 new seats added to 47,500 capacity the Blues inherited when the Club relocated to what was then the City of Manchester Stadium back in 2003.

It is almost certain that when City take on Chelsea in August, the current Etihad Stadium attendance record of 47,435 – set when the Blues took on QPR in May 2012 - will be comfortably surpassed.

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In turn, any gate of 49,000 or more would top the 48,619 that attended the 1987 Manchester derby at Maine Road. 

For an idea of how the Kippax celebrated goals, watch the 1989 clash with Bournemouth - as the Blues, needing a win to gain promotion to the top flight, blow a 3-0 lead against Bournemouth...

The last home crowd to top 50,000 was when City faced the Reds in October 1981 with 52,037 fans packed in to watch a dull 0-0 draw.

The 1981 FA Cup sixth round replay against Everton again saw Maine Road packed to the rafters with 52,532 watching City beat Everton 3-1 as John Bond’s side edged closer to the final.

Manchester derbies regularly pulled in 50,000-plus crowds and it’s worth noting the return games at Old Trafford usually only had 6,000 or so more throughout the 1970s

...Crowd pleasers...

 

If every seat in the house is sold and segregation is limited, City will hope to set a new record in excess of the 54,478 crowd that attended the FA Cup tie against Sunderland and the biggest crowd of the last 43 years.

The 1960s saw a couple of huge Maine Road gates with 60,844 attending the clash with Newcastle United in 1969 and 63,034 crammed in for the FA Cup sixth round tie with Everton in 1966.

The FA Cup proved a huge draw in the 1950s with three crowds in excess of 70,000, the largest being another sixth round tie with Everton in 1956 when 76,129 paid to watch City beat the Toffees 2-1.

The Second World War affected attendances up and down the land, the bombing of Old Trafford meant United shared Maine Road for a while and it’s with no small amount of irony that the Reds’ record crowd of 83,260 was actually recorded during their tenure at Maine Road!

The 1930s were a boom time in English football. Some 71,937 watched City beat Bury 3-1 in 1938 but it was in 1934 that City set an attendance figure that is still a record for a provincial game in England with 84,569 ‘packed in like sardines’ to see the Blues beat Stoke 1-0 in the FA Cup (pictured above).

Prior to that, three colossal gates were recorded in the 1920s; 76,166 watched City and Cardiff draw 0-0, 74,789 saw the FA Cup fourth round tie with Huddersfield Town and 73,668 watching City take on Stoke in 1928.

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