So, just like that Monday Night Football is back on our screens. Everton’s visit to Manchester City may have only ended 1-1 but there were still quite a few talking points. Wayne Rooney’s 200th Premier League goal, Kyle Walker’s red card that maybe shouldn’t have been and more.
However, as we’ve been reminded increasingly over the past couple of years, there are things more important than what happens in 90 minutes on the football pitch and nothing was different last night.
Last night saw Manchester City return to The Etihad for the first time since the tragic events that occurred just over 2 miles away at the Manchester Arena in May.
Since then we’ve seen the city of Manchester become even more united to keep spirits high. With neighbours Manchester United performing on a European stage only a few days after the attack, the two clubs showed their togetherness under the #ACITYUNITED hashtag, both of the clubs also donated £1 million to We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.
The summer would then see the clubs meet up in Houston for the first Manchester Derby to be played outside the UK. That wouldn’t be the only significance about the match however, as it would see the teams don The Worker Bee symbol on their shirts for the first time.
City’s signed and match-worn shirts from the Manchester derby in Houston and those from tonight’s fixture will be made available for fans to purchase via auction in September with all proceeds donated to funds set up in both countries following the attacks.
The Worker Bee is the symbol of Manchester and was worn by the clubs to show respect to the people affected by the attack in May. The symbol then made a return last night on the stage of the Premier League.
Worn by both Manchester City and Everton, last night’s Worker Bee was slightly modified due to recent events. In respect to the victims of the events which unfolded in Barcelona last week, yesterday’s Worker Bee incorporated the red and yellow colours of Catalonia to show further respect along with wearing the traditional black armbands.
On the circumstances in which City return to The Etihad this is what Chief Executive Officer, Ferran Soriano:
“The people of this great city continue to demonstrate an unbelievable sense of community spirit through their ongoing efforts to raise funds following the tragic events at Manchester Arena.”
In what will be Manchester City’s first home fixture since the attack, it is fitting that our players will wear the worker bee on their shirts, together with black armbands, as our club and fans come together to show solidarity with fellow Mancunians, and unity with all of those affected in Catalonia following Thursday’s devastating events.”
The Worker Bee won’t just be a one off though. This season, along with the 5,000 that already have, City fans will be able to purchase their kits with the Worker Bee emblem on them at the City Store, with the proceeds being donated to the Manchester Memorial Fund.
Hopefully we won’t have to see initiatives like this too often in the future but it’s refreshing to see how football can be used to bring people together in times like this. We’ll go on to see if this new motivation to bond the city can push both clubs to glory this season but before any silverware is lifted they have to prepare for their games one the weekend against Bournemouth and Leicester City which can be caught on Sky Sports and BT Sport respectively this Saturday.