MEN readership boost after Man City title triumph

The Manchester Evening News increased its print run by more than 45,000 thousand copies yesterday after Manchester City clinched the Premiership title with an extra-time goal on Sunday afternoon.

It was the first time the club had won a league title since 1968, prompting the MEN to produce a 20-page souvenir edition to mark the achievement.

‘It is occasions like these that you realise why you became a journalist and how much you love the job,’said editor Rob Irvine yesterday.

‘The excitement will carry on long into the evening as tens of thousands of fans pack into Manchester for the trophy parade.”

Website traffic rose by more than 400 per cent between 4pm and 6pm on Sunday, according to the MEN, and more than 1,000 users left comments on the site. There was live coverage of the City trophy parade last night.

Here’s sports reporter Richard Partington’s take on how the day panned out in the MEN office:

Noon

City shirts on show in every corner of Manchester as Blues make their way to the Etihad with virtually every pub and club screening the biggest day in Premier League history. Sports editor Peter Spencer is already in the office and has a ‘City win’ plan already drawn up – but has a ‘United win’ scenario up his sleeve just in case.

1pm

Photographers snapping celebs and supporters in and around the stadium. They will also be jostling for the best pitchside positions, some of them having camped out at the stadium overnight.

There’s a record number of journos at the Etihad – and the sense of occasion is tangible.

2pm

The sports desk is pondering whether any children born today will be christened after the heroes of the hour – will the MEN’s births column be bursting with babies named Yaya, Carlos, or Pablo, or will we see a spate of Waynes, Ashleys and Antonios?

3pm

Early goals flying in everywhere but not the Etihad and Stadium of Light, while Bolton fall behind. It’s a slightly edgy first half from City – and when Wayne Rooney fires United ahead at Sunderland after 20 minutes to put the Reds top of the league, the nerves around the Etihad increase 10-fold.

Injury to top man Yaya Toure does little to ease the mounting tension. Back at the office, the sports editor’s starting to sweat as well – and pondering when to activate Plan B, the ‘United triumph’ scenario.

It’s ‘as you were’ when Pablo Zabaleta’s goal sees the Blues leap back to the top of the pile – meanwhile, Bolton turn things around to lead 2-1 at Stoke.

4pm

Twitter’s in meltdown and the focus is almost entirely on Manchester’s race for the title.

The second half gets under way and Bolton fans are chanting Roberto Mancini’s name – but Blues and Trotters fans are stunned as Joleon Lescott’s slip gifts an equaliser to Djibril Cisse and the title looks to be heading to Old Trafford!

The sports editor’s off to a darkened room with his comfort food of choice to start up Plan B.

Joey Barton’s been quiet so far – oh, hang on, he’s taking the lot of them on! QPR are down to 10 men so you can’t see them troubling Joe Hart much.

Wait a minute, who’s picking up the boy at back post? Answers on a postcard to Roberto – he’s asking the same question as Jamie Mackie heads the visitors in front.

Back at the office, there’s a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door of that darkened room. Time for Plan B?

4.50pm

Okay, 90 minutes up at the Etihad. City 2-1 down and United dead-set to win. Pictures filter through of a podium waiting in the Stadium of Light wings with United’s logo and the words ‘Champions 2011/12’ on it.

It’s time to put Plan B in place. The sports editor is asking the picture desk for forlorn images of desperate Blues at the Etihad and directing our United man to write ‘Fergie: His Greatest Ever Achievement’.

The panic button pressed, Plan B is in operation. Then Edin Dzeko scores. Mind you, there’s only two minutes left and a draw is not enough…

4.54pm

We can’t believe what we are seeing as Sergio Aguero scores the goal which captures the Premier League crown!

Amid the euphoria, there’s disappointment for Bolton as they drop into the Championship after a 2-2 draw at Stoke.

5pm

It’s party time at the Etihad. The way City handle the presentation of the Premier League trophy, you’d think they’d been enjoying such pomp and ceremony year in, year out.

The inclusion of the 1968 legends is a real touch of class.

Little wonder that, after 44 years, Mike Summerbee finally cracks a smile. A momentous day.

6pm

The celebrations are in full swing across Manchester, but here at the MEN the hard work has only just started.

Sports editor is coming into his own now, sifting through reams of images, detailed discussion underway with the reporting teams and pulling the paper’s 20-page special together.

It’s important we get every last detail right – Blues supporters will cherish these pages and keep them as souvenirs for decades.

7pm

Congratulatory messages to City piling up on Twitter including a bizarre one from one Joseph Barton. MEN editor Rob Irvine is back from the Etihad for a run down of the paper’s coverage of the day’s events.

Paper’s top brass gather to thrash out the running order and put plans in place for Monday night’s celebration parade.

8pm

We’re in for a long night and by the time the presses start to roll early tomorrow there will be a few tired journos making their way out of the newsroom.

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