Manchester City’s ‘Tunnel Club’, which allows corporate guests to view players through a glass wall as they are about to enter the field at the Etihad Stadium, made its Premier League bow this week, but it wasn’t a hit with everyone.
The club’s match against Everton on Monday premiered the £15,000 ($19,000/€16,000) season ticket option, which allows VIP fans to witness first-hand the stars and staff going about their pre- and post-match duties in what has been called a “player aquarium”. Guests are able to greet the first-team as they make their way through the upper level to their changing room, and are treated to a tactical debrief before each game as part of the experience.
But while City describe Tunnel Club as the “most immersive experience available in world football today”, not everyone is as bowled over by such innovative fan engagement solutions.
Following the Everton game, the Joe.co.uk news website published a spoof report about the event, stating that a fan was “excited he was to be ignored by the team’s players in such an unusual and intimate setting.”
It joked that the fictional fan, which they dubbed Roy Farmer, a banker, “spoke of delight of the £15,000-per-season membership.”
While suggesting that the programme has received some sharp criticism for its “absurdity,” it went on to say that Farmer “insisted it was a breath of fresh to be totally blanked by his heroes from the comfort of such exclusive and novel surroundings.”
Joe.co.uk quoted the bogus fan saying: “It’s a whole different experience to the regular match day. When you’re on the sidelines the players blank you from really far away, and they have so many distractions that it kind of loses its effect. But in the tunnel it’s just you, the players, their headphones, their phones and whatever else they can find to make sure they don’t have to look at you. It’s absolutely fantastic.”
At the end of the spoof news report, Joe.co.uk added an italicised paragraph at the in the form of an editor’s note, which read: “The events, characters and sporting organisations depicted in this article are fictitious, except where they’re not. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Or very much on purpose. Our legal department would like us to stress it’s just for lols, innit.”
Image: Manchester City