It isn’t just Manchester City men’s team that has felt the benefit of being owned by one of the wealthiest families in the world.
The effect has been felt throughout the club.
Manchester City’s women’s team has been transformed from an average Women’s Super League team to one of the best in Europe.
But for such a high-profile women’s team there are still many unanswered questions, including where do Manchester City women’s team play?
So let’s find out…
Where Do Manchester City Women’s Team Play?
Manchester City Women’s team plays at the Academy Stadium, which was opened in 2014 as part of the £200million Etihad Campus development. The ground holds 7,000 supporters and it is just 400m from the Etihad Stadium itself.
Manchester City Women’s Team: The Early Years
Before we look at where Manchester City women’s team play, let’s have a quick look at their history.
Manchester City ladies’ team was formed in November 1988 and was officially affiliated with the men’s team, something that was quite rare at the time.
The man who came up with the idea for the team, and who would also be their first manager, was Neil Mather, who was at the time Manchester City’s Community Officer.
In an interview with the official Manchester City website, he paints a very different picture of the women’s game back then:
It was tough. We had to borrow old kit from the youth team, find a minibus, play on pitches without grass or with inadequate changing facilities which were miles from the pitches. Those first years were challenging.Neil Mather, Manchester City Women’s team manager talking about the team’s early years.
Mather got the idea to start City Ladies after organising a 5-a-side tournament for women’s teams at Platt Lane in Manchester in 1986.
The competition was a big success, but one thing stuck in Mather’s mind, a number of the towns and cities around the area had women’s teams, notably Crewe, Oldham and Preston, but Manchester City didn’t.
Mathers suggested to Club Secretary Bernard Halford that the club should start a ladies’ team, and upon getting the ok, he put his plans into motion.
Platt Lane was also the venue for open trials, and they proved to be more popular than Mathers anticipated, with over 70 ladies turning up to try out for the team.
The club’s first game was against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park in November 1988, and a 4-1 win was the first of many victories in the club’s first couple of years.
The team played friendlies in the first season, before entering the North West Women’s League Division Two which they promptly won in 1990.
Mathers also recognised the support the club gave his new venture:
The Club should be hugely credited for being at the forefront of women’s football. City putting money into women’s football was something that was viewed as ‘novel’ but the Club has always backed the women’s teams since the beginning.
At times, City didn’t have an awful lot but they still gave us everything they could get. Tony Book and Glyn Pardoe helped with the kit and minibus, Alex Williams drove us to games and more, while we also had support from the likes of Colin Hendry, Andy Dibble, David White and Paul Lake.
We always had kit and the Club supported us as much as they could.Neil Mather, Manchester City Women’s team manager.
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Climbing the Ladder
After a period of uncertainty the ladies’ team was still going strong by the late 1990s.
By this time they were back in the North West Women’s Regional Football League Division Two, which they won in 1998.
This earned them promotion to the North West Women’s Regional Football League Premier Division, where they were runners-up in 1999, before winning it in 2000.
Another title victory, this time in the Northern Combination Women’s Football League, the very following season, saw City in the second tier of women’s football, the WPL Northern League, for the first time for the 2001-02 season.
The club lingered in the second tier of women’s football for a number of seasons until 2014 proved to be a big year for the team.
Joining the WSL
In 2014 Manchester City Women’s Team was, amidst some controversy, given entry into a restructured Women’s Super League (WSL).
That same year, the team moved from the Manchester Regional Athletics Arena to the newly built Academy Stadium, which forms part of the £200millon Etihad Campus development.
Set barely 400m from the Etihad Stadium itself, the Academy Stadium holds 7,000 supporters and has three times set an attendance record for a WSL game.
It features many facilities usually found in larger stadiums such as a press room, board room, offices and retail space and was one of the venues used to host games at the Women’s European Championships in 2022.
It has also been home to considerable success for Manchester City Women’s Team.
Since moving to the Academy Stadium the ladies’ team has won the WSL once and finished as runners-up on a further six occasions.
They have also won the Women’s FA Cup three times and the Women’s League Cup four times.
Manchester City Women’s team has had a few grounds in their relatively short history but is now firmly ensconced at the Academy Stadium.
The stadium was opened in 2014, is part of Manchester City’s Etihad Campus, and is just 400m from the Etihad Stadium itself.
It is a fitting arena for a team that has not finished outside of the top three of the WSL since 2014 (at the time of writing).
A far cry from the days when they had to borrow old kit from the youth team and play on old pitches without grass!