A Final Group Stage Clash To Savour?
When and where will the match take place?
Celtic will face Manchester City on the sixth and final match day of our group stage campaign. The tie is scheduled for Tuesday 6th December 2016. with a presumed kick-off time of 7.45pm, and will take place at the Etihad stadium. An interactive map showing the stadium in relation to Manchester City Centre (which is approximately 2 km to the west) can be found below.
How Can I Make My Way To Manchester and the Etihad Stadium?
Road: Those individuals wishing to travel to Manchester by road, presuming you are coming from somewhere around Glasgow, should follow the M74 motorway south until it becomes the M6 motorway at the Scottish border with England at Gretna. Continue to follow the M6 for mile after mile until you reach the area around Preston, where it splits into a continuation of the M6, the M61 and the M65. Take the M61 south for a short while until you reach the M60, which is a motorway ring road around the city of Manchester. From there, you will be able to decide which route into the city is best for you dependent upon anyway accommodation arrangements etc which you may have. In this sense, Google Maps is most certainly your friend. The Etihad Stadium itself is located around 2 kilometres east of the city centre, on Ashton New Road, M11 3FF.
On paper, the journey should take somewhere between three and a half hours to four hours, depending on traffic conditions and any stops which you make decide to make. Maps of the route south and of the stadium’s location within the city can be found below.
Air: Manchester Airport is situated approximately nine miles south-west of Manchester City Centre. It proudly boasts the status of being the third largest airport in Britain and the largest outside of the London area. As a result, it will come as no surprise to you all that it serves as a destination for a large number of inbound flights, ranging from short to long haul in length. Whilst one would expect that the majority of the travelling Celtic support will drive south, this may prove to be a valuable option for those of you coming from further afield or constrained somewhat by time. A quick search of airport arrivals seems to suggest that short-haul domestic flights are serviced by Terminal 3 at Manchester Airport, but I cannot say with certainty that this is always the case.
There are various routes into the city from the airport, which include the use of trains, trams, buses or taxis.
Perhaps the simplest of these options (with the exception of a taxi should you wish to pay for one) is the train. With it’s own dedicated railway station, connecting Manchester Airport not only to Manchester Piccadilly Station but also to a variety of other destinations, trains run on a regular basis (generally at five or ten minute intervals) and take approximately 15 minutes to reach the city centre. Adult single return tickets can be picked up for about £10 if purchased in advance. A map of the train network is featured below.
Manchester Airport is presently serviced by a tram service, which runs somewhere in the region of four times every hour. However, as there does not appear to be one single tram route currently running from the city centre all the way out to the airport (although this is in the planning), you would need to change to a city-bound tram at a station like St. Werburgh’s Road or Cornbrook. Allegedly, a journey in or out of the city from the airport can take somewhere in the region of 45 minutes. A map of the entire tram network can be found below, or you can see a high resolution copy which you can download to your phone by clicking here. Manchester Airport is located at the extreme left of the map.
For the sake of clarity, I feel I should highlight that both Liverpool John Lennon Airport (27 miles) and Leeds Bradford Airport (35 miles) may provide alternative options for those of you wishing to travel by air.
Rail: Both Glasgow Central Station and Manchester Piccadily Station are part of the West Coast Mainline, but critically the majority of trains which leave Glasgow heading south do not go through the city of Manchester (with most requiring a changeover at Preston). Booking ahead, this is a relatively inexpensive option providing you are willing to commit to particular trains rather than just picking and choosing on the day. At this point however, Virgin do not appear to be allowing bookings in advance of the middle of November. Above all else though, make sure you know which southbound train you are on and where it is scheduled to stop, otherwise you could end up a lot further south into England than you originally expected.
Where Will The Celtic Support Be Housed Within The Stadium?
Having now recently seen the stadium’s South Stand expanded, the bulk of the travelling Celtic support will be housed across three tiers behind one of the goals. Numerous maps of the stadium found on the internet have not been updated to include the presence of this third tier, but I have done my best to outline its location in the images below. Also, due to the sheer number of Celtic fans likely to head south for this fixture, it is likely many who are unable to secure away tickets will instead make arrangements to watch the match within the home crowd.
The away support will be housed within the sections shown in white in the South Stand below. Presumably, this will include areas 113, 114, 213, 214, 313 and 314. This will correspond approximately with the area between the two green lines in the second image.
What Will The Weather Be Like?
It feels somewhat cliched to include this point of discussion herein, particularly when one considers that the home of Manchester City is only 182 miles from Celtic Park (as the crow flies). Be that as it may, the average daily temperature in Manchester in December is just 4 Celsius. Whilst the relevant record highs and lows set at this time of the year are as high as 15 Celsius and as low as minus 13.5 Celsius, it generally tends to stay within the range of 7 Celsius to 2 Celsius. Therefore, I’d advise you all to keep in mind the unpredictability of the weather on this island and have a look at the weather forecast a day or two before travelling south.