Manchester is dressed up and ready to welcome a friendly invasion by tens of thousands of football fans tomorrow (Wednesday 14 May).
The city is playing host to supporters of Glasgow's Rangers FC and FC Zenit St Petersburg, who meet in the UEFA Cup Final at the City of Manchester stadium at 7.45pm.
Fans are expected to arrive early in Manchester. Fan zones with big screens are being set up in Albert Square, Piccadilly Gardens and Cathedral Gardens.
The day of the match is expected to have high temperatures so fans are being advised to drink plenty of water and eat and drink alcohol sensibly.
Manchester City Council city centre spokesperson Councillor Pat Karney said: " This is a major sporting event that brings millions of pounds of investment to the city and supports local jobs.
"We are renowned for our friendly Manchester welcome and we are a major sporting capital. The eyes of the world will be on our city and our visitors.
"This will be an incredibly busy day for everyone in Manchester so be prepared to enjoy the atmosphere. Everyone needs to allow extra time for journeys, to expect changes in car parking and to consider using public transport.
"We want our visitors to enjoy themselves, to be good ambassadors for their city and their football club and to return home safely after an entertaining world-class football match"
Councillor Karney said that off-licences and alcohol outlets would be monitored throughout the day. "We do not want a repeat of disgraceful experiences that we saw in Exchange Square during the World Cup," he said.
Changes in city centre arrangements include: moving the Albert Square taxi rank to St Peter's Square; moving disabled parking bays from outside Central Library to Peter Street; closing roads around Albert Square during the day. Also, close to the Stadium, Alan Turing Way will be closed for part of Wednesday evening.
Major transport plans are in place to ensure that fans travelling to Manchester in coaches, minibuses and cars are directed to parking areas.
There is dedicated coach parking at the City of Manchester stadium and at Lancashire Cricket Club. For more details visit http://www.manchester.gov.uk/ and see the item under What's New.
Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council Councillor Jim Battle said:" This is a big day for Manchester, particularly communities around the City of Manchester stadium. We are reinforcing the residents' parking scheme and we have more than 400 mobile toilets around the city. Our street cleaners will be working throughout the day, and we urge everyone to play their part in making Manchester a city at the top of its game.
"Well-behaved and responsible football fans are welcome to celebrate their excitement and enthusiasm on this extra-busy day. They are ambassadors for their club and their city, and we expect them to celebrate in a good-natured and positive fashion."
Chief Superintendent Gerry Donnellan, match commander for Greater Manchester Police, said: "One of the key messages is that temperatures are expected to be very high tomorrow and we want to ensure that the heat doesn't spoil people's enjoyment of the game.
"We are advising people to drink plenty of water throughout the day and, while we acknowledge that people will be drinking alcohol, we are asking that they drink sensibly.
"There will be plenty of opportunities for people to drink alcohol within the open spaces of the fan zones. However, supporters are asked not to drink alcohol out in the street in other parts of the city.
"We are receiving reports there may be forged tickets in circulation. People with those forged tickets will not be able to overcome the strict security checks. Our advice is to only purchase tickets from authorised sources.
"We want people to come to Manchester, enjoy the atmosphere and ensure they play a part on a fantastic occasion."
Media contact: Martin Hellewell
Manchester Visitor Information Centre , tel: 0871 222 8223 *
* Monday - Friday, 10am - 5.15pm (recorded information at other times) Calls cost 10p per minute from a BT line. Call charges from other providers may vary