By Alexandra Moerschner & Craig Jones
The blue moon rose on Market Street when Manchester City Football Club opened their brand new flagship store on Friday.
The current CityStore in the Arndale Centre will be replaced with a state-of-the-art retail outlet, 420% larger in comparison.
Shoppers will enjoy much more choice, with exciting new products including the latest fashion collections, accessories and gifts.
This follows a £1 million investment from the club’s new retail partner, Kitbag, who have also upgraded the ordering facility, offering a multi-channel service which allows fans to have products delivered anywhere in the world.
Garry Cook, CEO of MCFC, explained that they were very proud of their old store, but admitted they could do a little bit better.
“Eighteen months ago we asked if we could improve the current store,” he said.
“And I think this started to depict the journey of this football club because we’re relentlessly seeking to get better.”
The club and official kit partner, Umbro, have lots of events lined-up in the forthcoming months such as bands performing live, product launches and fashion shows taking place in the shop.
“What you see is not a club shop, what you see is a Manchester City retail experience with a difference,” Mr Cook added.
“This football club is a great football club and it sits at the heart of this city, just as our new store does.”
Mr Cook said that the club hopes their new store will be a home away from home, offering the complete stadium experience for supporters.
Managing Director of Kitbag, Ray Evans, said: “When discussing plans and aspirations for this shop, we quickly realised only the best could ever be considered for Manchester City Football Club.”
And with the store boasting a unique shirt printing laboratory and an innovative and sophisticated interior, their aspirations seem to have materialised.
“We want to offer fans a bit of that magic they experience at the stadium when they walk through the door,” he added.
“I am going to make a bold statement now and say that this is, without a doubt, the best football club store in this country.”
At the launch party of the store on Thursday many agreed.
One of them was City player, Micah Richards. He said: “It’s great, I’ve been to the old store in the Arndale Centre and this is a big improvement, I can’t believe how big it is.
“I think the fans will love it, they deserve the best on and off the field.”
Richards was joined by team-mate, Shaun Wright-Phillips, where they showed their support by djing at the event.
The final seal of approval came from former MCFC player and club ambassador, Mike Summerbee.
He said: “The store looks fresh, smart and modern; I think it epitomises the direction that the club is going.
“It just shows how Manchester City are growing as a force.”