How Manchester Folk Are Coping Without Football

There are many things that define a city, but one of the most vital cornerstones is sport.

With the city’s two main football clubs accruing 17 Premier League titles between them, football is a lifeblood to Manchester folk, and in turn – like many football fanatics in other sport-starved cities – they have come up with novel ways of bridging the gap between now and the resumption of football.

e-Sports / Virtual tournaments

The idea of playing a FIFA or Pro Evo Soccer tournament with friends online is nothing new. These days, of course, it is possible to live-stream footage of a game and the reactions of any player involved. Yet, with the temporary cessation of football, even the real-life professionals have taken it upon themselves to simulate the games that have been postponed, doubtless trying out new tactics and skills they may attempt to translate into the real world.

Meanwhile, e-Sports teams representing different clubs have duelled together online through FIFA 20. Amongst the most memorable matches, the Citizens kicked off their tournament by thrashing Belgian outfit ‘Kortrijk’ 4-1, before going on to edge out fellow Premier League side ‘West Ham’ 3-2. They would go out at the third hurdle, 4-0 to PSV:

Other local sides Rochdale, Salford City and Oldham Athletic were not so fortunate, going down 5-1, 3-0 and 6-1 to Coventry, Cheltenham, and Finn Harps respectively in their first-round fixtures.

Such is the growing nature of virtual sports, with that growth hugely boosted by the latest FIFA tournaments, it is not difficult for leading gaming companies like online casinos or sports leading videogames to find ways to entertain their players in that area. From live football-themed games to signing up with a dedicated team of players, people are now spoilt for choice when it comes to utilizing their favorite sport in order to become self-sufficient without live matches. 

Nostalgia-rich media in fashion

With an uncertain future ahead, but within the city of Manchester itself, the certainties of the past become a source of comfort for those sorely missing the sight of their heroes at Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium.

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From a Manchester perspective, all of the usual staples are there. Amongst the most common discussions is where United legend Roy Keane stands in the all-time list of Premier League captains. It is a debate likely to be provoked afresh this spring, with this April marking the twentieth anniversary of United’s record earliest Premier League title win.

This is the squad that beat Southampton 3-1 at The Dell in April 2000 to seal the title.

Keane invariably shares a podium with any combination of Steven Gerrard, Patrick Vieira and John Terry in the list of the Premier League’s best ever captains.

As for City, this spring will mark exactly twenty years since they gained promotion for the second season running, returning to the Premier League just two years after dropping into the third tier.

Back in 2000, Joe Royle was the mastermind behind the completion of City’s amazing recovery, inspiring unlikely cult heroes such as Shaun Goater, Nicky Weaver and Paul Dickov to get a club on its knees back into the big time.

New realms in fan-driven media

The popularity of Youtube channels such as Full Time Devils has not only rocketed over the past five years, but is now seen by some fans as a refreshing dose of honesty and pragmatism. The days of relying on those seen as experts are fading fast, with those closest to the club showing unrivaled passion in a way that resonates with fans.

These channels are, however, very reliant on football actually being played to get the views necessary for their long-term survival. As such, the current situation is bringing out the creative side in presenters, studio guests and blog writers.

Naturally, the current debate is on how the 2019/20 Premier League season must finish, with the different permutations of each scenario creating healthy, if sometimes heated debate, on comment sections and fan-led forums.

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