Sunday, April 29, 2007

You mean you don't like Manchester?

I have to go to Manchester for the day tomorrow which I do now and then. I know quite a few people who live there. They tell me the city these days has changed: good restaurants, plenty of cultural activities, Didsbury is like a London suburb.

And, of course, they're right. Is my dislike of Manchester simply a Londoner's distaste for provincial cities? But then I quite like Liverpool and Newcastle.

I suppose my attitude towards the city is to some extent influenced by its football teams. When there is a United home game, the M6 is full of people travelling up from London and the South-East. Some of them no doubt have Manchester origins, but not all of them.

But then is Manchester City a more authentic club? One of my Manchester friends who has little interest in football manages to spit out the words with a unique venom. Having said that, my doctor, who is a nice guy, is a City supporter.

I suppose my problem with City is that they are one of those clubs, like Spurs, whose fans think they are much bigger than they really are - which is why I call them the 'Massives'. The stadium is splendid, albeit provided on very favourable terms by Moonchester City Council, but it's in a run down area of East Manchester where parking is difficult.

Not that that looks like being an issue for us next year. Here is your first cut and paste web guide on finding next year's grounds. Clue on the club: I sat next to one of its directors at lunch once and he was a potato farmer:



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