Much of Manchester has undergone regeneration - Ira bomb in the city centrre in 1996 saw to that - resulting in an exciting balance of contemporary glass-mirrored structures (such as the Urbis building) and the re-vamping of old derelict builgings - an example here being Printworks which was the ill-fated newspaper Tycoon, Robert Maxwell, printing emporium.
The Red Devils
What is now Manchester United Football Club started life as 'Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Football Club' in 1978, formed by the workers of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot in Newton Heath. The name was shortened to 'Newton Heath Football Club' in 1983 after it entered the Football League and began to sever its links from the Rail Depot.
The club neared bankruptcy and their ground, at Bank Street, was closed by the bailifs. It recieved a sizeable investment from J.H. Davies, who later became the chairman. At early board meetings the issue of the name was broguht up, and after dismissing names such as Manchester Celtic and Manchester Central, the board settled for Manchester United. On 26th April, 1902, Manchester United officialy came into being and the clubs colours were changed from Newton Heath's green and gold to red and white. The club was promoted to the 1st division after finishing 2nd division runners up in the 1905/06 season. It has remained in the top division of English Football to this day, apart from the 1935/36 and 1974/75 seasons. During the clubs first 43 years, Manchester United were first division champions twice (07/08 & 10/11), FA Cup winners in 1909 and capped both first division wins by winning the Charity Shield twice (1908 & 1911).
1945 saw the arrival of Matt Busby as manager. During his 24 year reign over the club, they were First Division champions five times (51/52, 55/56, 56/57, 64/65 & 66/67), once more capped each title winning the CHarity Shield (although the last three occasions were shared after draws), achieved 2 titles in the FA Cup (48 & 63), and became the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968.
The Munich Air Disaster is still remembered as the worst event in the clubs history. In 1958, BEA flight 609 crashed a the end of a runway in Munich after attempting to take off in poor weather. On board were Matt Busby, 17 Manchester United players, 3 members of the Manchester United staff, 6 Air Crew, 11 journalists and 6 other passengers. Of the 44 people on board, 23 died. 8 were Manchester United players, 3 were Manchester United staff, 2 members of the Air Crew, 8 Journalists and 2 other passengers. Much of Uniteds first team was lost, but the club was not beaten and managed to reach the final of the FA Cup the following season, loosing to Bolton Wanderers.
Busby left in 1969 and Manchester United went through a period of unrest while they struggled to find their feet (Busby did return for six months in 1971 after the team finished a disapointing 8th in the 69/70 season and had a poor start to the following season). They went through a further four managers untill Alex Ferguson took over in 1986. During this intervening period United only managed to win one Charity Shield (83), shared one (77), both times after finishing runners up in the first division, however they managed three FA Cup titles (77, 73 & 85). During this period they were also demoted to the 2nd Division (74/75) in whcih they finished first and were promoted back.
In 86, Alex Ferguson took over from Ron Atkinson as manager. Ferguson remains the manager of the club to this day and in his 23 years at the club has won 11 Premier League titles (92/93, 93/94, 95/96, 96/97, 98/99, 99/00, 00/01, 02/03, 06/07, 07/08 & 08/09), 7 Charity/Community Shields (93, 94, 96, 97, 03, 07 & 08), shared one (90), 5 FA Cup titles (90, 94, 96, 99 & 04), two victories in the European Champions League (99 & 08), a European Cup Winners Cup (91), a European Super Cup (91), and also achieved world success on two occasions, winning the Intercontinental Cup (99) and the FIFA Club World Cup (08). Infact, Manchester United more than doubled their trophy cabinet under Alex Ferguson, and also won the infamous and unique 'Treble' in 1999, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and European Champions League, the only English team to do so.
The club has seen some of the greatest players in the world wear the red shirt, such as Eric Cantona, David Beckham, George Best, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Christiano Ronaldo
Manchester is Red
A common stereotype about Manchester football is that United are the world-wide supported club with little local support while all of City's support is local. This popular myth has now been blown away by several pieces of research. The one featured here is by the Manchester institute for popular culture. The map indicates the patterns of season ticket holders for both clubs in the M postal area in 2001. The actual totals overall were 7808 for United and 6678 for City.
City's overall season ticket base made up over 50% of their whole average crowd, while for United this was a much smaller proportion, about 39%. Despite this, United came out on top. As the map shows, the majority of areas are shaded red. Also, there were nine areas where one club had a majority of 40% over the other, eight of which were red, the exception being M14 (Which at the time was City's home district of Moss Side). There were also 9 areas where the majority was under 10%, all of which were City areas. Thus had the proportion of season ticket holders as a percentage of the crowd at Old Trafford matched that of Maine Road, several more blue areas would turn red.
Only one district had 100% support for either club: M17 was a blue-free zone.
Wider surveys of the Manchester conurbation continued to emphasise a pattern where United were well supported everywhere, but particularly is westerly districts while City concentrated their support most in the east. United still had the higher number of season tickets. Across the North-West region as a whole, United still had a larger total of season ticket holders, (more than City as a whole) and only a slightly lower proportion of the total season ticket base living in the region (72%) than City (78%).
Other research includes the Manchester Evening news football survey, which consistently placed United with about 51% of it's football-supporting readership, City about 30% with the rest distributed amongst smaller local clubs (Oldham / Bolton / Bury / Stockport etc) and other clubs.
Fairfield Moravian Colony
Settled by immigrants from Eastern Europe who belonged to the Moravian sect (they were Protestants before most Protestants protested). This is a tranquil Georgian-style neighbourhood wholly absorbed into east Manchester.
Labelled 'Fairfield Square' in the A to Z. Take Fairfield Avenue north from the A635 Manchester Road west of Ashton under Lyne, off junction 23 of the M60. Or alight at Fairfield train station.
This is a superb second-hand record shop. They stock bits of everything. They have another shop at 67 Bridge Street, which stocks more mainstream CDs, but the Oldham Street shop is my favourite. It's packed with all sorts of CDs from almost every imaginable genre. They also carry a selection of videos, and, surprisingly enough, plenty of vinyl. The staff are experts and their specialist knowledge is pretty hard to beat, although there is a *lot* of competition in that area in Manchester. Be warned - you can spend hours rooting through the racks here. The prices are excellent. You can usually pick up pre-release promos from here, although expect to pay a premium for them if they're popular. They also stock a fair few rarities. You can find a lot of those records you've been looking for ages here - make sure you've room in your bag. Normally up to £7 or £8 for a recently released or particularly popular album on CD. A lot of things are cheaper, especially old promos for CDs which have been available a while and older albums.