For the Premier League season of 2014, Man City announced the replacement of the flags at the Etihad Stadium with their digital counterparts. The decision was not received as well as the club hoped, however, as the LED screens were predicted to prevent fans from honoring tradition to the fullest. The story remains unchanged this year.
The Beginning of the Offence
The hanging of banners and flags on level two was a tradition of the Etihad Stadium that started in 2003. The middle section was a monument of sorts to the players that were, are, and will be. However, in 2014, Man City decided that the stadium needs refurbishing. Along with the increased capacity, the club modified the stadium to have the LED screens going all around the inside of the stadium. Knowing that the fans would not approve, the club tried to present this move as an asset that would boost the entire experience for the people inside the venue.
The issue of the flags and showing support traditionally remained. Manchester City’s idea of a solution to this dilemma was to use the LED screens to broadcast digital flags. The flags and banners on level three were left alone, which was a good call since the fans would absolutely not forgive the removal of the ‘Manchester thanks you Sheikh Mansour‘ banner. During the modification of the roof, the fans affected by the rain were given ponchos.
In an effort to show support for Man City, the 1894 Group started an initiative with the club that involved spreading the colors, the songs, and the flags (the last of which was always returned to the fan group). The group became active on social media in 2013, and the initiative took place in 2016, possibly to remedy some of the dissatisfaction the fans felt over the announcement involving LED screens.
Those that want to show up at the games brandishing the colours of Man City are welcome to get in touch with the group, as they are active and eager to accept new fans under their wing. Apart from being active on social media, they also have their own website and app.
Where Are We Now?
It would appear that the digital flags were put into actual operation this year for the first time. As far as the fans’ acceptance is concerned Twitter has been abuzz with people showing nothing short of outrage at the digital banners and the plastic confetti that was distributed to the fans. Swear words, shock, and pure disbelief decorated social media posts at this blunder. It remains to be seen what Manchester City is willing to do for its fans in order to remedy the situation.