Last night Manchester claimed its space in the spotlight of the sporting world as local rivals Manchester United and Manchester City went to toe-to-toe to assert their individual right to the Premier League throne. The game – billed and anticapted as a classic – came on the back of the rise to prominence of City tallied with United’s recent slip that had seen the Eastland’s team come to within three points of their much venerated neighbours.
The result of the game – a one nil victory to Manchester City may prove decisive in delivering City’s first league Championship – and first premierleague crown – in over 40 years but it also went to show the World that other places in the UK exist outside of London. This may seem a rather strange concept and may indeed be dismissed as quixotic ramblings of a Northern Monkey but…I do tend to feel that regional identity isn’t trumpeted enough in this country outside the inhabitants of those very regions who take time to find fault with their neighbours than take pride in their own.
My background to this is as a Northerner, a Lancastrian, leading a fleet-footed existed in London. My daily life takes the wide-angled lense of drama that London offers its inhabitants and visitors alike. One thing that I miss and that London does not seem to offer is a belonging an emotional connection to the place I live. I am part of the whole ubran sprawl that makes London known throughout the world as the UK’s pulsating centre. This connection of London and the UK to me doesn’t seem right however. This is the place where people live, work and leave – a lot of the time no emotional connection is made it is merely a conduit for people to pass through their 20/30s before going on to establish roots in another part of the country that will eventually come to mean something of significance to them.
My point is therefore – we need to highlight the rich diversity of the place that we live in. Occasions like the Manchester Derby make it known to the wider world that there is pride in locality, pride in regions not just a country that revolves around London but one that has a whole milleau of regional identity and integrity. From my point of view, I can only hope that when international viewers where watching the game last night – and when ultimately Vincent Kompany powered home his decisive header that a moment was taken to recognise the pleasure and delight of the home crowd taking in the pleasure of their home team scoring a decisive blow against their city neighbours. That this was a local event to local people on a world scale and that the UK has more to offer beside a London where often residents or doing nothing more than passing through in search of their final destiny.