Don Your Way column: Demos, football fans, bars and fun - why Manchester rules in these crazy, troubled times
Bless me dear reader, for I have sinned.
Last weekend, I left behind the safe confines of South Yorkshire for a trip to the dark side – across the Pennines for a day out in, whisper it, Manchester.
I know its a treasonable offence for a Yorkshireman to spend time in those parts but bear with me.
Myself and a group of friends were due to take in Doncaster Rovers’ game against Bury.
The trip had been in the pipeline for a long time, but Bury’s sad expulsion from the Football League left us at a loose end with no game to watch.
Ah well, we thought, we can still have a day out in Manchester. And what a day it was.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Doncaster and all it has to offer, but there’s something about the Mancunian vibe that truly appeals.
While we were there, there were protests against Boris Johnson, a climate change demo, a Free Kashmir event, something to do with Palestine (I’m afraid I didn’t quite catch what it was) and large groups of football fans wandering the streets.
Manchester City, Brighton, Leyton Orient, Salford City and later, Burnley and Liverpool fans, all mixing and mingling on the streets in a mix of sunshine and showers.
Whatever your political viewpoint or footballing allegiance, its wonderful that different sides with opposing views can seemingly co-exist.
And the LGBT bars and venues were doing a roaring trade too.
Political demos? Football fans? Surely a melting pot and a flashpoint for trouble?
Not a bit of it.
We didn’t see an ounce of bother. Just people out for a good time, whatever they were in Manchester for.
Ever since I first went there in the early 90s as the 'Madchester’ music scene helped to put the city on the musical map, its a place I’ve always loved everytime I’ve returned (which I’ve decided is nowhere frequently enough).
The Printworks, The Arndale Centre, the National Football Museum, the Northern Quarter, the open expanses of Piccadilly Gardens, Canal Street – it truly is a city that caters for anyone and everyone.
There’s colour and character around every corner, always something going on and you’re never far from a surprise or two.
I realise on declaring my love for the city on the other side of the hills I might never be welcome around these parts again but stand down the angry mob with pitchforks and flaming torches – go and see for yourself and realise what a truly cosmopolitan place it is in these crazy, troubled times.
I might love Donny but I love MCR too. Try it, you might like it.