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A great fight, but a poor venue!
Evening News Arena
Member Name: Beanie8844
Evening News Arena
Advantages: saw a fantastic world championship boxing bout
Disadvantages: old, dirty and unhelpful staff
I recently spent an evening at the Manchester Evening News (M.E.N.) Arena as it was the venue for the David Haye and John Ruiz world heavyweight boxing title bout. It was the second time that I have visited Manchester Town Centre, but my first time at the arena and to be honest I was quite disappointed. To me the venue seemed quite outdated which is quite strange considering it was only built in 1995 as part of Manchester's unsuccessful summer Olympics bid in 2000, the toilets were small and there were too few of them, the food and drinks counters were very inefficient and the policy of not allowing alcohol into the stands seemed ridiculous (although I'm not sure whether this was implemented by the arena of the British boxing border control!).
Getting to the arena is easy enough as it is right next to Victoria Station, is situated on many bus routes and there is a cab rank just outside.
On arrival at the venue we were searched, but it was never explained what we were actually searched for. We then had to queue to get into the venue and our tickets were checked by door staff. Once inside we wanted to use the toilets, I was appalled to see that people were actually smoking in the toilets and placing their used cigarette butts into the urinals and sinks, disgusting! Furthermore, no staff entered the toilets at any point to prevent this from happening or to clean the mess it caused up. Next we wanted a beer. We queued for around ten minutes to get a beer, the price of which has evaded me, but I don't remember it being too unreasonable. My next gripe was with the drinking policy and the trouble it caused. As I mentioned earlier you weren't allowed to take alcoholic beverages into the main arena itself. This meant that huge numbers of people were drinking in the walkways around the outside of the arena. The area was absolutely packed. People were bumping into each other whilst trying to walk through the mass of people which were assembled and this inevitably led to spillages of drinks. This was annoying enough itself, but no staff bothered to clean it up. The floor was therefore slippery and many people ended up falling over to shouts of "she fell over," very embarrassing!
The fight itself was superb and the view from our seats was pretty good considering they only cost us £30.00. We had plenty of leg room and the seats were comfortable enough. We were seated in the upper tier. There are two tiers in total and I believe the lower seats are more expensive. The only problem that I experienced inside the arena itself was the quality of the sound system. I recently visited the O2 Arena in London and the sound system there was quite simply brilliant, in comparison to this the M.E.N. Arena was poor. The sound was muffled and it was hard to make out what the ring announcer was saying.
I understand that the M.E.N. Arena is one of the most used venues for sports and entertainment in the UK if not the world, but, to be totally honest I was left feeling disappointed. The layout and look of the place seemed very dated (similar to the old Wembley Stadium), the toilets were dirty and the staff seemed unhelpful. The arena itself wasn't actually too bad, it had a good atmosphere and the capacity was decent enough at just over 21,000 people, but I think this was more to do with the event rather than the venue. Overall, I think I'd give it a miss in the future as I think there are much better venues scattered across the country.
Thanks for reading, feel free to comment.
Summary: I don't think i'll be returning
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