Last Saturday I had the good fortune to watch my team play Manchester City at the Etihad. There are many memories I took away from the day. Most football related.

We parked up in Ashton, taking the tram to the ground. What an efficient, inexpensive and stress-free arrival. Who knew Manchester’s transport infrastructure was so much better than most of the UK?

Outside the ground is a fan’s concourse. Beer tents, bands, merchandise, and fans all congregate in the consumer festival that now passes for football. There were many options on offer to pass your hard-earnt pounds to those cash hungry oil men.

Usual football fare on the food front, involving fat, fryers, polystyrene, and frozen vegetables. That was avoided.

Beer was available. Limited uninspiring choice. John Smiths’ smooth and Heineken were no surprise but £4.00 a pint was a pleasant one.

Drug dogs and a very thorough security pat-down gave a hearty Mancunian welcome at the turnstiles which opened electronically via the barcode on the ticket. Automation removing the need for turnstile operators.

The drinking and food area in the ground were nothing special. Manchester meat and potato pies featured and were avoided. As was any collateral CJD risk.

The ground itself is impressive as a structure. You won’t be surprised that the atmosphere was lacking. For such a successful team I was expecting a full house. There were plenty of empty seats. Maybe the cold snap in the air kept the fair-weather fans at home and maybe there are a few City fans who see second in the league as not worthy of support. Fairweather fans indeed, only singing when they’re winning.

Our seats were adjacent to the Man City fans but separated by a high vis jacketed wall of security.

Besides one bald fan wearing a gold chain as heavy and as thick as his neck, most City fans were good-humored. Our friend without hair but with a neck chain to compensate spent all his time facing the Palace fans treating us to his repertoire of hand, fist, and arm signals, culminating in an open invitation to meet him outside for bare-knuckle boxing. Impressive in an “I’m on day release from Strangeways” sort of way. Needless to say, he left on the 70th minute worn down by Palace fans’ indifference and good nature.

This was a typical Palace day out. The dogged determination of the iron fist against the silk glove of City.

A draw was a fair result. McCarthy’s winning tackle and pass epitomising Palace’s strengths.

A great day out but being a City fan must be so dull in comparison to the highs and lows of supporting Palace through thick but mainly thin