Man City fans prove club right after idiotic FA Cup ticket criticism but this can’t be a one-off – Alex Brotherton

In an unexpected sort of way, conceding an early goal in their FA Cup fourth-round tie was possibly the best thing that could have happened to Manchester City.

The ball had barely nestled in the back of Zack Steffen’s net after leaving the left boot of Fulham’s Fabio Carvalho when the City faithful burst into an unusually early song.

“We never win at home and we never win away” rang out around the Etihad Stadium, a typically self-deprecating City song often sang regardless of the score. However, it is not one usually heard during the early rounds of cup competitions, nor is the sound of thousands of fans singing in unison.

As is sadly to be expected, City were widely mocked for their decision to make tickets for their FA Cup fourth-round match against Fulham available at a cut-price on student website UNiDAYS.

For £15 Manchester-based students could arguably watch the best side in Europe take on the runaway Championship leaders, a spectacle that didn’t disappoint with three goals scored inside the opening 13 minutes. But the price reductions didn’t end there.

Adult tickets for the match were also available for £15, with concession prices starting at £10 and kids getting through the gates for just £1. As one City fan on Twitter said – in typical tongue in cheek fashion – it was an exceptionally affordable day out.

All tickets for the match sold out on January 29, a whole week before the Cottagers traveled up from west London. In this case, sold out actually means sold out.

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City often don’t open the third tiers of the Colin Bell Stand and the East Stand for early round cup fixtures against non-Premier League opposition, but on Saturday the Etihad Stadium was just as full as it is when the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool visited.

The atmosphere was great. The aforementioned chant seemed to immediately galvanize a wounded City, so much so that less than two minutes later Ilkay Gundogan was striking home the Blues’ equalizer.

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All this isn’t to try and make a point to City’s critics and the empty seat watchers. City could sell out every home game for the next 10 years and some would still shout ‘Emptyhad’.

Trying to engage in reasoned debate with those who mock a football club for offering affordable tickets – especially at a time when the cost of living is set to reach its worst level for 30 years – is like trying to flog a dead horse.

City put on a show in front of their fans on Saturday

Instead, the full stadium, the cracking atmosphere and the thousands of families and children who got to go to a game without breaking the bank should be used to levy the club into maintaining a more reasonable and affordable ticketing policy.

Yes, slashing ticket prices regularly would slightly reduce the club’s income, but ticket sales contribute so little to City’s annual revenue that it would be a drop in the ocean. But to the average fan, it would mean a lot.

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City should be commended for the competitive and good-value pricing of their season tickets, but adult tickets for individual Premier League games are often extortionated. Whichever way you look at it, £63 to see Guardiola’s side taken on Liverpool in April is not good value.

Just like you, we can’t get enough of Manchester City! That’s why we’ve decided to supplement our expansive City coverage on the Manchester Evening News with a more fan-oriented platform catered specifically to City fans – City Is Ours.

Writers and presenters who share your passion for the blue side of Manchester will be producing written, visual and audio content to reflect the mood in the stands as well as the press box.

Follow our team on Twitter (@DomFarrell1986 and @alex_brotherton)!

Not only does reducing ticket prices make things easier for the average fan while ensuring a sell-out crowd and good atmosphere at less attractive fixtures, it also nurtures the next generation of City fans.

There will have been kids at City’s 4-1 win against Fulham who will want to return for another game, having been brought along by their parent(s) because it only cost a quid.

The most important things in football are people and family. It’s what the game is all about.

Do you think that City should offer cheaper match tickets more regularly? Follow our City Is Ours writer Alex Brotherton on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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