Manchester has been named the UK’s Greatest Sporting City 2015 following the publication of detailed research by the universities of Gloucestershire and Bath.

The research looked at 48 cities and towns across the country and focused on 12 separate categories, including: value for money, success, atmosphere, history, venues and transport links.

Manchester topped the ranking after scoring highly in the majority of factors examined – beating its closest rival London.

The in-depth analysis took place over several months and gathered opinions from focus groups as well as the views of 5,000 sports via an online survey. This information was then cross-referenced with third party data from more than 100 different sources.

The research was commissioned by UK sport website

My work has many similarities with the findings and in particular I would like in this post to introduce Connections to the partnering opportunities that are currently available through my role at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

An informal conversation, meeting or message can lead to me sending you the full portfolio; but if I can introduce a couple of examples, hopefully readers can appreciate both the corporate social responsibility and marketing values that can be derived from an involvement with MMU. Think sport, Manchester (and indeed all North West!) and the potential for a return on investment from working together.

Firstly, the ‘Double Club’. An exciting first in the North West, building on the collaborative strengths of ‘Route to Languages’ within Manchester Metropolitan University – combined with the Premier League’s, Manchester City Football Club and other sporting bodies. It is an educational programme combining football and language learning that extends to education and the National Curriculum through both online and offline resources. The initiative has been implemented in London with Arsenal – but there is a strong desire to make this happen up North. The aim is to assist learning of pupils including those disaffected or marginalised in mainstream education. Linking to modern teaching and Premier football creates a stimulating environment irrespective of any team allegiance. As far as languages – all modern are incorporated.

It is expected to be delivered in sessions of 45-minute ‘halves’, just like a football match. In one half, children sharpen language skills in the classroom, working with specially designed, ‘City’-themed workbooks, interactive online resources and relating to the current activities and players at Manchester City. The next half is specialist learning and drills continuing the fun football theme and participation. The Double Club is proposing to be available at Key Stages 2 and 3 in primary and secondary schools. A fantastic partnering opportunity linked to a Premier side, courtesy of MMU’s Memorandum of Understanding with this generous Club. Teaching both in the classroom and at the Etihad Stadium.

Secondly, ‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’. It is a National Laureate Education Project, led by the Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy. Regional competitions and events are taking place throughout the year. The Project is a poetry competition comprising of two parts: Mother Tongue encourages children, who do not have English as a first language, or who speak a different language at home, to share a lullaby, poem or song from their Mother Tongue and to explain what it means to them; Other Tongue encourages children learning another language to use that language creatively by writing a poem in that Other Tongue.

The competition has recently been endorsed by Boxer, Amir Khan: “This is a fantastic project and initiative which helps to bring better understanding between the many diverse people that make up this great Country. It’s a chance for us to celebrate multiculturalism and for us to get to know one another even better. Speaking another language is a great asset to have and to express that through poetry shows a really high level of skill. It’s something to truly admire because I know, like boxing, it’s not easy to do. I encourage all the young people to enjoy the competition and to give it a go.”


Manchester Metropolitan University is part of the largest higher education campus in the UK and one of the most extensive education centres in Europe.

MMU has a total student population of more than 37,000 and a business alumni of more than 10,000. Our claim is to be the University for World Class professionals with an emphasis on vocational education and employability. With a history dating back 150 years, we have a combination of the traditional and the contemporary that sets MMU apart and gives us our distinct character.

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