We’ve now reached the half way stage in our pre-season tour and it’s time for a change of scene…
Following last night’s historic meeting with Melbourne City at the CBus Super Stadium, we swapped the Gold Coast for Melbourne on Day Ten Down Under.
As I write this, the players are just having a bite to eat before retreating to their rooms for bed after a two and a half hour flight from Brisbane… small beans compared to the 21 hours covered last week!
It was a special way to end our training camp in Queensland – a first-ever match between two City Football Group sides and the game itself certainly didn’t disappoint as a spectacle.
OK, there could have been more goals but every one the 21,000+ people inside the stadium would all surely agree that they’d witnessed a competitive game between two teams committed to an attractive, attacking footballing aesthetic.
Seeing as it was a day for firsts, your media team decided it would be the perfect occasion to expand our social media offering by launching a Snapchat account (mcfcofficial).
This launch coincided with our decision to spend the match with the Brisbane Blues - surely one of our most far flung supporters’ clubs on the globe.
It never ceases to amaze us just how passionate and well-informed our overseas fans are, so it was a real kick to take a step away from our usual method of covering a match, to check in with these Aussie supporters.
The Brisbane Blues meet up to watch every game at the Pig and Whistle in the Riverside Centre and, as many of the fans we met informed us, usually at the most unsociable of hours!
Our biggest takeaway from this experience of having a pre-match drink, getting the coach and walking up to the stadium with them, was just how exciting it was for them to have City in their timezone, in their country - just down the road.
It made me realise just how lucky we are to be in Manchester and able to watch our team live so easily week-in-week-out.
We stayed out of the press box for this historic match and opted to stay behind the goal in and around the Brisbane Blues for the game and, at times, you could have been forgiven for thinking that the South Stand had teleported 10,000 miles.
As if the day hadn’t been enough fun on and off the pitch, Samir Nasri weighed in with a wonder goal after 86 minutes to give City the slenderest of winning margins on a memorable night for all involved.
It may have only been the friendliest of friendlies but you wouldn’t have known that from the reaction behind us as the Brisbane Blues celebrated what was for some of them, the only goal they’d ever seen City score with their own eyes.
What a moment it was!
Thanks so much to Eric Fitton, chairman of the Brisbane Blues for saving us three spaces on the coach – if you’re local to Brisbane and are looking for a group of supporters to watch our games with, get in touch with him via Twitter here.
Look out for a CityTV video of our day with the Brisbane Blues in the next couple of days.
As for the game, although my view wasn’t quite as good as it usually is (#firstworldproblems), there were, I thought, a lot of positives from a City point-of-view.
Out of the senior players, Nasri and Toure once again linked up effectively and repeatedly caused problems for the opposition by forcing overloads with their unpredictable passes and movement, while Jesus Navas also put in a fine showing down the right flank and Vincent Kompany looked at his assured best at the back.
As for the youngsters, there were plenty who took the opportunity to shine in the absence of our nine late-arriving internationals but none more so than Manu Garcia who is having an excellent tour so far.
The 17-year old Spanish playmaker seems to relish the physical aspect of “men’s” football which, when blended with his fleet feet and eye for a pass forward, makes for a winning combination.
Hopefully we’ll get to see more of him when the International Champions Cup gets under way for City on Tuesday with the game against AS Roma.
We’ll be attending the pre-match press conference with Joe Hart and Manuel Pellegrini tomorrow and will have plenty more exclusive behind-the-scenes articles, galleries and videos, so make sure you keep checking mcfc.co.uk for all of the latest as #cityontour shifts up a gear.
City on Tour 2015, supported by visitabudhabi.ae.