Manchester City Football Club has refurbished three of the Etihad Stadium’s hospitality areas, wowing football fans and guests alike.
The club’s most prestigious hospitality space, now named The Connell Club, has been entirely redesigned along with The Mancunian, a restaurant celebrating the city of Manchester and its cultural heritage.
A number of hospitality boxes have also been customised, including the EA Sports Games Box where customers can enjoy an all-out gaming experience.
Manchester City’s Marketing Manager, Justice Ellis, told Premier Construction about the project.
He said: “As a club – whether in the stadium, hospitality or social media – we like innovation.
“Originally the new stadium was quite grey – it didn’t have much of City about it. But as the stadium has been developed, colour has been added and that is what we are continuing to do through these spaces.
“We wanted to match what we have achieved on the pitch with our hospitality offer, and we’re thrilled with the look and feel of these plans in anticipation of what is to come at the Etihad Stadium this season.”
The work began in June 2012 and was completed in time for the start of the 2012/13 season at the end of August 2012. The main contractor for the work was the Manchester based fit-out company Styles and Wood.
The overall design consultants were 2020 and the creative agency was Design By Music.
Justice said: “The Connell Club is the most prestigious hospitality venue- we chose the name because the word ‘club’ suggests a coming together of people and a sense of ownership.
“Both The Connell Club and The Mancunian have been meticulously planned to represent the aspects on which the club is formed, from a proud history, unique culture and loyal fan-base.
“Manchester City is a global brand, proud of its roots. We are taking these spaces onto another level, expressing the character of the club and creating an experience unrivalled anywhere in world football.”
The Connell family were instrumental in setting the foundations for Manchester City Football Club in the 1890’s. They saw a need to bring the community together and the outcome of their actions was the creation of St Marks Football Club, which became Gorton AFC in 1884 and eventually, Manchester City Football Club.
This history of the club is reflected in the many original design features which give The Connell Club its unique, traditional feel.
“We wanted to introduce brands within the main brand identity of Manchester City, in The Connell Club we have used two C’s facing each other, which is a reference to the initial crest of the club
“You come through big oak doors featuring the emblem to meet a large concierge desk with the emblem imprinted in leather, it’s this attention to detail which makes it a really special place to be.
“Also everything was procured locally – the art is from Central Station in Ancoats and the work was carried out by the Altrincham based fit-out firm Styles and Wood.”
The Connell Club seats 220 people and features many special details to reflect the exclusivity of the restaurant.
Each slate place matt is imprinted with the Connell Club logo and there are numerous design features which refer to the club’s roots.
A 1900’s map of East Manchester is subtly placed on a wood panel on the ceiling at the entrance to the restaurant, marked on it is the location of the original stadium and St Mark’s Church, both important places in the clubs history.
Within The Connell Club, the five Ambassador booths are the most exclusive seating in the restaurant and each is themed with a story referring to one of the positive attributes alluded to in the team’s original crest.
These are bravery, honour, generosity, glory and loyalty – and each booth has its own commissioned panel above it to illustrate that attribute. The stories are also engraved on the edge of each table.
Even the leather on the booth seating has been given extra attention to detail- and is stitched using the same hexagonal pattern used to make footballs.
Directly above the Connell Club is The Mancunian, a place where ‘City meets the City’ as it is the one location in the stadium with superb views of both the pitch and the Manchester skyline.
In the newly designed restaurant, the bar has been moved towards the back of the space and is surrounded by glass to prevent the obstruction of the room’s amazing views.
Manchester City Football Club chose to base the modern restaurant on one of the things that Manchester is most famous for; music.
This theme is reflected in a variety of design features within the restaurant, one of the most striking being a large vinyl record above the bar as you enter the space.
The record has 11 grooves to show the 11 players on the pitch, and each groove is marked with lyrics from bands with connections to Manchester such as Oasis, the Ting Tings, the Chemical Brothers, 10CC and I Am Kloot.
As you enter the restaurant, the lyrics meet to spell out ‘The place where rock and roll meets give and go. This is the Mancunian.’ This design feature was created by ‘Design by Music’ a local creative agency based in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
The music theme is shown throughout, including in the chains which separate the bar from the main restaurant, which differ in colour to show the sound waves of much loved city songs.
The leather place mats are imprinted with quotes from different Mancunians, such as Johnny Marr, Noel Gallagher and Mark Radcliffe.
There is also locally commissioned art displayed on the walls which pays homage to city players such as Joe Hart, Alan Ball, Paul Lake and Mario Balotelli.
Manchester City Football Club has also begun to come up with imaginative new schemes for the way fans experience the club’s boxes, which makes up the final element to the clubs hospitality refurbishment work.
The club has teamed up with EA Sports to create a gaming box in place of what was a traditional 8ft x 11ft entertaining space.
The fully interactive Gaming Box accommodates up to 10 people, offering EA SPORTS’ latest gaming releases, luxury gaming chairs, a 42” screen and PS3 gaming console. The box also benefits from an awe-inspiring panoramic viewof the pitch.
“The new EA SPORTS Gaming Box thrills the senses, and offers an unrivalled combined experience for football and gaming fans.
“From the moment you walk in, every detail has been thought of so that guests enjoy a fully customised experience – even boasting its own more informal catering – but with same usual high standard for a Platinum Box guest, including your own balcony seating and dedicated waiter or waitress.
“This is a great thing for City to have as it means we are getting custom from businesses who previously might not have booked a box.”
The EA Sports box joins specially customised boxes from Etihad Airlines and luxury watchmaker Richard Mille.
The Harvey Nichols Experience Box is another example of Manchester City choosing to customise their available hospitality space.
This box includes a mixologist to run cocktail or spirit master classes, food and drink from the award-winning Harvey Nichols Second Floor Restaurant, a gift bag for all guests and the room is dressed with the latest fashions from Harvey Nichols.
The Connell Club, The Mancunian, the EA Sports Box and The Harvey Nichols Experience Box are now open and available for booking.