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Man City to change kick-off direction

BLUE ARMY: A sea of blue and white in the South Stand

BLUE ARMY: A sea of blue and white in the South Stand

Saturday’s visit of Hull will see Man City take a kick in the right direction with a new initiative.

Should the Blues win the coin toss from now on, Pep Guardiola’s men will opt to attack towards the South Stand in the second half.

Working together with our Official Supporters Clubs and the 1894 Group, City will introduce the change in a bid to reinforce home advantage at the Etihad Stadium.

It is hoped that by kicking towards the Blues’ vocal singing section, while the opposition shoot away from their travelling supporters, Guardiola’s side will have an edge.

Kevin Parker, General Secretary of the Supporters Club, explained: “It has been a combination of an idea from both the fans and the Club.

“Kicking towards our singing section in the second half might give us an advantage over the opposition.

“If you look at some of the stadiums around the country, they seem to have a preference of kicking towards the Kop, the Stretford End, the Holte End or the Clock End, for example.

“The younger fans in the Family Stand are always very vocal but the plus point with this idea is that the opposition will no longer be kicking towards their fans in the second half, while we will be kicking towards our singing section. 

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“The fans are always looking for ways to improve the atmosphere in the stadium and to give the team an edge over the opposition. We feel this could give us an advantage.”

Parker also hailed Guardiola’s influence in the decision.

“Pep has always looked for ways of connecting with the supporters,” he continued. “He has shown during games that he wants to have this connection between himself, the players and the fans.

“Pep started that very early on by encouraging the players to stay on the pitch at full-time, head to the centre circle and acknowledge fans, irrespective of the result or the performance.

“The fact Pep is willing to consider this as an option shows he is always willing to listen to the fans.

“The introduction of the singing section two seasons ago, bringing groups of people together into one section of the ground, has been a big plus.

“What better way for the Club to show its togetherness with the fans than to say: okay, let’s give something new a go and see how it works. I’m doing my bit, now you do yours!

“In the past, we have worked together on creating displays for certain games. Nobody will ever forget the fantastic display inside the stadium when we played Real Madrid in the Champions League.

“That was great work between the fans and the Club and this is another area where we have been common-minded and both had a similar idea.

“We mentioned it to the Club a few weeks ago and they said the same subject had been discussed with the 1894 Group and internally so it’s encouraging that we’re thinking along the same lines and that the Club are willing to give it a go.

“Football clubs, players and fans are creatures of habit but hopefully, this will make a difference and the fans will appreciate the effort that is being made by Pep and the players. In turn, the players will respond to the extra bit of encouragement the singing section will bring them in the second half.

“The game against Hull on Saturday is as important as any game. It’s a game we want to win of course and we will see whether changing the way we kick off has an impact.

“We’ve changed a lot of things at the Club for the positive over the past few years. If this works out, we’ll all be singing and smiling.”

Speaking of the decision Guardiola said: "The vocal support we receive from fans across the stadium makes a huge difference to our performance.

"It’s fantastic to hear their voices behind us in every game. Kicking towards our singing section in the second half will no doubt help the team even more, so I’m very pleased the Club and our fans have worked together to make this happen."

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