Liverpool may be enjoying a resurgence as a footballing power, but the city has lost its title as the best place in the country for sport.
Because Manchester has been named UK’s Greatest Sporting City for 2018 by ESPN in its fourth annual research project with the University of Bath.
They asked fans to rank 12 factors that make a great sporting city. Those factors were then given weightings to apply to each city’s results.
This year, fans ranked value for money as the most important factor, with 19 percent of fans saying it was the most important.
The factor ranked second most important was matchday atmosphere, which 18 percent of fans said was the most important.
Manchester topped the rankings after scoring highly in many of the 12 factors that fans identified as key to a great sporting city, including club success for a city’s professional teams, local talent and history.
“We are pleased to receive this confirmation from ESPN of Manchester’s status as the UK’s greatest sporting city,” said Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.
“We are not just a power in professional and elite sport like football and cycling – but also in building participation right down to the grassroots.
“For our clubs at the top to succeed, there needs to a dedicated hard core of volunteers from across Greater Manchester who are willing to give up their evenings and weekends to create an environment for young people to thrive. Whether it is junior football, community rugby, amateur boxing or village cricket, none of it is possible without a strong network of coaches and parents.
“We are proud of our professional clubs but for the people across the region who are passionate about junior and amateur sport they should take immense pride in Manchester being named the UK’s greatest sporting city.”
When asked what makes Manchester such a great sporting city, Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera said:
“First of all for the history of this club, I think that makes the city very very interesting, very attractive. Second because the last two top positions in the league are two teams from Manchester, also because two of the best managers in the world are in Manchester. Our stadium is amazing, everyone wants to play in our stadium, everyone wants to visit our stadium, I have a lot of friends asking me for the Manchester United tour every week. The rivalry between the two teams in the town, a lot of things, I cannot tell you just one answer.”
It’s the second time in four years that Manchester has been named the UK’s Greatest Sporting City. The city was the inaugural winner of the title in 2015 and hasn’t dropped below second since – finishing behind Leicester in 2016 and Liverpool last year.