Manchester City's Etihad stadium rated the world's best for 'fan experience'

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

The click-clack of the turnstiles. A pie and a bovril. A paper ticket and a programme. 

Going to the football is changing. Some would say it isn't what it used to be. 

For generations, the above were all part of the romance of visiting your favourite team's ground. 

But at many stadiums, the turnstiles have fallen silent, replaced by electric gates. The concourses are choc-a-bloc with gourmet food and gin stalls. 

All that means the way football grounds are measured is now very different. Just look at the contrast, for example, between the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium and White Hart Lane.

However, for the average fan, nothing has changed. Every other Saturday, they go to experience the atmosphere - otherwise, they'd be better off watching it at home. 

Now the Etihad gets a hard time precisely for that reason.

There are often empty seats visible, which perhaps goes with the territory of being the second club in Manchester for so long until their first Premier League title in 2012. 

The next time that is brought up City fans, freely point to a study conducted by Footy.com which suggests the English champions' home ground is, in fact, the best in the world. 

There are a few caveats we should mention. The research is based on "stadiums that fans enjoy the most". 

City fans will indeed have been enjoying their football at the Etihad, where they've seen their team win back-to-back titles under Pep Guardiola. 

Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester City - Premier League

Yet only teams that won their domestic leagues last season were included. That means iconic grounds like Anfield and Old Trafford, as well as Arsenal and Tottenham's thoroughly impressive new stadia, aren't included. 

Nor are Real Madrid's Bernabeu, the Milan clubs' San Siro, or Borussia Dortmund's infamously noisy Signal Iduna Park. 

To be fair, City have beaten Barcelona's Nou Camp and Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena. 

Other sports arenas were also included, such as Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park and New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium. None of them have a patch on the former City of Manchester Stadium, it would seem. 

But based on what, exactly? Deciding factors included the price of a season ticket, the cost of a pint, smart technology, accessibility, capacity, and the average time it takes fans to get there. 

The chance to witness one of the greatest sides in history ought to sway a few people too. 

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