Are Manchester City Fans Finally Warming To The Champions League?

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Manchester City supporters have had a complex relationship with the Champions League over the years but, after winning the tournament for the first time last season, fans might finally be warming to the competition.

Completing a famous treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and finally a Champions League title, getting that first taste of big success in Europe has seen a shift in attitude towards this tournament.

City Finally Arrived Last Season

It’s fair to say Manchester City fans have had their ups and downs over the years but the campaigns under current manager Pep Guardiola have been the best in their history. City, who are 13/8 in the Champions League betting odds this term, reached new heights last season. The Cityzens faithful got to witness a third consecutive Premier League title and their side lift the FA Cup. The Champions League title was the final piece of the puzzle and Rodri’s decisive goal in the final saw City fans in raptures as their side overcame Inter Milan 1-0 in Istanbul.

Those who were lucky enough to be at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium would have heard the jeers and whistles when the Champions League anthem was played out. Since City were punished by UEFA due to Financial Fair Play breaches, supporters have never forgiven the organisers of the competition for their fines and restrictions. While the booing of the anthem before Champions League games is unlikely to stop anytime soon, there are signs that City fans are falling in love with a competition that has a celebrated history of making and breaking the biggest clubs in the European game.

City Fans Voting With Their Feet

Looking back to the 2018/19 season, City fans and their relationship with the Champions League appeared to be at a real low. Looking back to a home clash with Ligue 1 side Lyon in September 2018, only 40,111 showed up to their game at the Etihad Stadium. With a capacity of 53,400, it was a sorry sight to see so many empty seats, on what should have been another special European night for a club that not all that long ago was battling in League One. Clearly the anger towards UEFA was high among the fans for how their club was treated by the governing body.

Fast-forward to the 2022/23 season and witnessing their side win the Champions League appears to have drawn a line in the sand. Again the booing of the anthem continues but fans have been voting with their feet this season. Looking at City’s last-16 encounter with FC Copenhagen and 51,531 supporters were in the Etihad that night. Bearing in mind City were already 3-1 up from the first-leg, a reduced attendance could have been forgiven but the fans showed up their numbers.

City’s relationship with the Champions League will continue to have its complexities but the team's recent European glory seems to have opened up a new chapter in the story between these supporters and this prestigious tournament.