Manchester is known globally as one of the major UK cities, establishing itself within England through a vast history of industrial development, scientific and engineering output and a cultural past which includes significant contributions in music, arts, and crucially, the sporting landscape. As well as being home to two of British football’s biggest teams, Manchester’s sporting scene was further developed by the hosting of the 2002 Commonwealth Games and the impact of the 2012 London Olympics. Manchester’s sporting scene has adapted to centuries of change to remain at the forefront of sporting excellence.
Around the world, Manchester is known as the home of Manchester United and Manchester City Football Clubs. Since forming as part of the Lancashire Railway depot at Newton Heath in 1878 (United) and from members of St. Mark’s Church of England in West Gorton in 1880 (City), the clubs have evolved alongside the continued growth and popularity of football from clubs who simply sought to curb gang violence and alcoholism by instituting new activities for local men to offering six-figure weekly salaries for their worldwide superstars. Success for United came in many forms in the twentieth century, with the success of the Busby Babes preceding the dominant years under manager Sir Alex Ferguson from 1986-2013. This success has resulted in United becoming one of the biggest sporting franchises in world sport, while City have found recent strength through investment from Abu Dhabi United Group resulting in them too becoming one of the world’s wealthiest sporting institutions.
Old Trafford cricket ground was originally the home of Manchester Cricket Club, but became the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club in 1864 upon the club’s formation. Despite play interrupted throughout the twentieth century from two World Wars, Lancashire went on to find continued success, especially in the 1970s.They still remain one of the top county cricket clubs in the country, maintaining a healthy rivalry with Yorkshire, which started back in the nineteenth century, referred to as the Battle of the Roses.
Success and growth of team sports such as Rugby League and Rugby Union has resulted in further team sports such as American Football and even Ice Hockey emerging successfully in Manchester while athletics has also developed greatly within Manchester. The city hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games, with the legacy of this huge sporting event including the annual Great Manchester Run which has been hosted since 2003 and has become one of the most popular 10 km runs in the UK.