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City Square Gives East Manchester Landlord A Hangover

Not everyone is thrilled by the Etihad revolution...

Written by . Published on October 4th 2011.


City Square Gives East Manchester Landlord A Hangover

IN THE shadow of Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, not everyone is impressed by the club's Abu Dhabi funded revolution.

Two weeks after the club revealed plans for a £100m training academy, one longstanding pub owner told Confidential how its new City Square fanzone next to the stadium was hurting his business.

“The club are being proper greedy. How much is enough? What’s going to be left for local people?”

Michael Kehoe, owner of Mary D’s on Grey Mare Lane, believes the club is taking valuable custom away and trying to cannibalise matchday spend in the area.

“Match day takings are down about 25 per cent since the Summerbee Bar opened in City Square,” he said. “If we didn’t have the match day revenue we’d be closed. It’s a real noose around our neck."

He said business was currently the worst it had been in the 20 years since he took over the pub and he is concerned that the area's traditional pubs could be wiped out, threatening jobs and leaving the area without a community hub.

The pub’s extension was opened by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1971 - the pub still displays a plaque commemorating the event. Kehoe fears all that history could soon be lost.

“The club are being proper greedy," he said. "How much is enough? What’s going to be left for local people?”

Mark Lee, owner of Tony’s Stadium Chippy and Kehoe's next door neighbour on Grey Mare Lane, was less concerned by the changes in the area however, and believed trade had not been affected.

“It’s quite a busy shop on match days,” he said. "Takings have probably risen since I took over three years ago."

Lee said the ongoing development of the area could actually improve trade on Grey Mare Lane.

“Competition is good,” he said. “It keeps you honest. The more attractions you’ve got, the better it’s going to be for everyone.

“Not only does it attract customers it should attract investors too, which will make it a nicer place to live in.”

Dave Hardman, who runs The Eastlands Bar further down the road, was similarly optimistic about the effects of development in the area.

“Beswick is a deprived area and needs the investment,” he said. “Anything that brings money into the area is a good thing.”

He said the history of the pub - and its prices compared to City  - would keep customers coming back.

The Eastlands BarThe Eastlands Bar

Hardman, a former property developer, said he thinks the proposed redevelopments could generate further investment and increase the value of property in the area as well as bringing much-needed jobs.

“Nobody round here wants to be unemployed,” he said. “I see potential here because the people are great people.”

A spokesman for Manchester City FC said the opinions of local residents and businesses had helped form the club's plans.

It will also keep 5.5 acres of the site for community use and contribute towards a new swimming pool in the area.

"During a six week period of public consultation, there was 97 per cent support for the proposals," he said. "The proposed development of up to 80 acres of brown field would create around 160 construction jobs during the project, 70 per cent of them for local people. 

"Permanent employment for up to 90 people is also likely with up to 80 per cent of positions being made available for local residents. The Club is also committed to local sourcing of materials, equipment and services for the operation and construction of the proposed site."

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Weby72October 4th 2011.

I wonder if the Mary D's landlord was complaining when Citeh first moved there, bringing a huge upswing in his matchday revenues?

AnonymousOctober 4th 2011.

20yrs ago The stadium wasn't even built so what's happened to the roaring trade he had then if this is the worse it's been? Perhaps he should look at his beer prices.

AnonymousOctober 5th 2011.

An insightful and balanced article, thanks.

it's the city, duffusOctober 5th 2011.

change and you've got a gold mine here...

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 5th 2011.

unlike Liverpool, where it will never happen...

Town Hall JimOctober 5th 2011.

Good point about changing Duffus. Mary D's is an absolute hole. If it smartened up and got rid of some of its razor wire adornments then it could have really good trade irrespective of City.

AnonymousOctober 5th 2011.

The general consensus between City fans is that while Mary Ds used to be an essential part of a match day, its prices are now doing it a disservice - drop the price of a pint by about 50p (but ideally as much as 80p) and you may get your customers back. And going on a tirade against the club is only going to lose you customers, not gain them - all Blues would do anything for City and won't tolerate those who talk bad about them.

Chesney TalbotOctober 5th 2011.

The reason Harold Wilson opened the extension was due to the building being Bradford Labour Club up until the early 90s when it became Mary D's Beamish Bar and then eventually had the luck to have a massive stadium bulit accros the way! Pulling the "historic pub" card is a bt weak really.

Grimebusters UK - footy editionOctober 5th 2011.

Wouldn't mind doing a TV series on Football Clubs and their immediate surrounding areas - what a shocking sight to anyone NOT from the UK!

Agenda 21October 5th 2011.

Ditch Sky, update the infrastructure, ban foreigners' money laundering schemes, get the World Cup to Britain, win it for Pete's sake.

1 Response: Reply To This...
thinktankOctober 5th 2011.

Who would have thunk that could work?

David DillonOctober 5th 2011.

The Beer is poor, it's over croweded, the DJ in the big room is pap, the decor is very basic at that, there is no general theme running throughout, beer is over priced for what it is, and then served in plastic! I'd rather spend more per pint at Kro in town, than spend less but drink a poor product in a poor environment.

Look inwards before you start to blame City. City are probably the only reason you havent closed down sooner!

Elizabeth Charlesworth-JonesOctober 5th 2011.

Man City fans are keeping that pub trading - the amount of beer sold in there on match days in unreal!! What about all the other pubs closing down who genuinely can't keep afloat due to lack of trade, smoking ban, beer prices etc.... Mr Mary D's should consider himself one of the lucky ones...........

Simon BinnsOctober 12th 2011.

Jason, if you're going to use our site for a free bit of advertising, can you at least learn to spell?

tblzebraOctober 12th 2011.

And turn off CAPS LOCK Jason.

maccaApril 27th 2014.

Me and my wife liked going in mary ds until it got to pricey for what we was getting in basically a working mans club at ritz prices

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