Manchester City have become the first Women’s Super League team ever to secure an official stadium naming rights deal, with the formerly known Academy ground nowcalled the Joie Stadium.
Unveiling their new stadium partnership with baby gear brand Joie on Thursday, 14 September, Man City‘s Academy Stadium was given its new moniker, making them not only the first purpose-built women’s stadium in the league but the only club to boast an official naming partner.
The new multi-year agreement is an extension of Joie’s current partnership with City’s women’s team which began back in March when the brand was first named as the Club’s Official Family Partner.
Now set to bear their name around their home ground for the foreseeable, the expanded commercial collaboration has arrived just in time for the new WSL season.
The deal comes after City Football Group pledged to “introduce and improve family-friendly services and building on the club’s commitment to delivering the best possible matchday experience for fans of all ages across all stadium facilities.”
Lionesses Chloe Kelly, Steph Houghton, Demi Stokes and various other City stars were in attendance, with the first-team trio helping cut the giant ribbon to celebrate the newly renamed Joie Stadium on a rainy morning in Manchester.
Opened in 2014 as part of the club’s continued investment into East Manchester and further development of the wider Etihad Campus, the 7,000-capacity stadium is also home to many Elite Development Squad and youth team matches.
Manchester City Women’s Managing Director, Gavin Makel, said of the unveiling: “It is a further reflection of the importance, growth and commercial appeal of Manchester City Women and the wider women’s game and we are excited to work together with Joie to maximise opportunities for families at our matches.”
As for the company renowned across Europe for the brand of prams, children’s car seats, highchairs and more, Joie’s senior MD David Welsh added: “We believe that football offers an unforgettable experience for families and by partnering with Manchester City Women…We aim to make it truly accessible for all – whether that’s families with babies or parents of older children who will love playing in the Fan Zone.
“We’re incredibly proud of the steps we are making to help provide an all-inclusive experience and are committed to further developing our offer and ensuring that the Joie Stadium is one of the most family-friendly in the Women’s Super League.”
The Joie logo will be rolled out across stadium assets and during various City Women’s fixtures, with the brand also promising to offer exclusive prizes and experiences to fans alongside creating bespoke content with members of the first team this year.
The 2023/24 WSL season gets underway on Sunday, 1 October with Man City, who came fourth in last year’s tightly-run campaign, playing West Ham away at 1pm. You can the full list of fixtures HERE.
Manchester City’s Matheus Nunes rolls back the years and goes to work at Flat Baker in Ancoats
Manchester City star Matheus Nunes has already impressed many during his short time at the Etihad so far, but he impressed a few more this weekend not with his skills on the pitch but in the kitchen after moonlighting at a popular Manchester bakery, The Flat Baker in Ancoats.
The recent Man City signing might only have the one assist to his name during his time as a Blue thus far, but he’s served up more than a baker’s dozen to local Manc residents thanks to a quick shift as a pastry chef this past weekend.
However, it was by no means his first time in the kitchen, as Nunes revealed that he used to work in a bakery during the earlier days of his footballing career.
Getting put to work on one of The Flat Baker‘s bestsellers, their unbelievably addictive pastel de natas — trust us, they’re utterly sinful these things — the bakery’s owners Débora and her husband, also called Matheus, got the City star back up to speed. You can see the full video here:
That being said, as you can see, the 25-year-old midfielder was a bit of a dab hand after a few goes at it; the fact he not only had prior experience but also shares the same heritage as the bakery’s founders no doubt helped.
Born in Brazil but raised in Portugal — two places where these unmistakable sweet treats are most famous — Nunes explained how he, his mother and English step-father moved to Europe for “a better life” and to help his chances of becoming a footballer.
The former Wolves player went on to explain how he “failed a lot in school” and eventually his mum gave him a choice: “give up football or school, in order to start working”.
Starting out in his godfather’s bakery, he went on to spend a fair bit of time making bread and pastries and even appeared in a similar video back in Portugal after signing for Sporting Lisbon.
Naturally, the trio did eventually touch on football a little bit, with Nunes discussing what it’s like to play under Pep Guardiola and how nice it’s been to arrive at a club where there are plenty of Portuguese-speaking players like Ederson, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and others.
Débora also joked about how he has fared getting used to ‘Rainchester’ and he was polite enough to smile it off and simply reiterated that playing for City was oppurtunity he culdn’t pass up.
So, if things don’t work out in the Premier League, he can always swap the sky blue shirt of city for a lovely chef’s apron and help out over at The Flat Baker.
Featured Image — Manchester City/Sporting Club de Portugal (via YouTube)
Tributes pour in for Manchester City legend and former chairman Franny Lee
Tributes are being paid to Manchester City legend and former chairman Francis ‘Franny’ Lee CBE, who has passed away aged 79.
The ex-Man City, Bolton Wanderers, Derby County and England star is said to have passed away in the early hours on Monday morning, 2 October, following a long battle with cancer.
Speaking via a club statement, his wife Gill along with children Charlotte, Jonny and Nik said, “He will be sorely missed and would like to thank everyone for their kind words”.
Both Manchester teams led tributes to the British footballing legend, with avid City fan Liam Gallagher and countless others joining in paying their respects.
Franny Lee scored 148 goals in 330 appearances during eight-year City, helping the club win multiple honours during their first periods of success, including the old First Division title back in 1968.
Born in Lancashire and starting out elsewhere in Greater Manchester at Bolton Wanderers, he also went on to play for Derby following his time with the Blues, helping the Rams to their second-ever title in 1975.
The striker also had 27 caps for England between 1968–1972, scoring 10 goals and winning FA Cup, League Cup, European Cup Winners’ Cup and the Charity Shield twice at club level during that period.
Honouring their former centre-forward who went on to serve as Chairman for four years from 1994 onwards, the club statement read, “It is with the deepest sadness and heaviest of hearts we announce the passing of former Manchester City player and Chairman Francis Lee, aged 79”, adding that flags around the Etihad Campus are flying at half-mast.
His first club, Bolton, said of the former marksman, “All at Bolton Wanderers are saddened to learn of the passing of former forward, Francis Lee. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Francis’ family, friends and loved ones at this difficult time.”
As for legacy as for his time in Blue, the club had already planned to immortalise Lee prior to his death, announcing the erection of a statue back in May 2022, the reveal date of which will no doubt be moved up following his passing.
The club has also assured that “more tributes will follow in the coming days.”
Rest in peace to a legend.
Featured Image — Manchester City/England/Bolton Wanderers (via Twitter)