The real Manchester derby takes place in lectures – not leagues
They wear the colours with pride, the scarf, the hat, the shirt – even the snood.
The posters hang on their walls, the merchandise litters their desks, the emblem adorns their favourite coffee mug.
You can see a sense of belonging overcome them when friends, and strangers alike, join them in a chant of support.
It doesn’t matter who they are, where they are from or where they are going in life.
They are united, a team, a community.
Are they football fans? No.
They are students.
Forget the ongoing battle between City and United, the real turf war in Manchester exists between the universities.
While Manchester’s football chants may enlighten everyone to the booming exclamations of Red Army and Blue Moon, the Manchester University and Metropolitan students have invented their own rather risqué anthems to denigrate the ‘other side’ of the city.
“I think the best song about Man Met I’ve ever heard is You’ve Got More STDs Than UCAS Points,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, President of the Philosophy, Politics and Economics society at Manchester University and Captain of Manchester’s University Challenge team.
Perhaps a little on the harsh side.
Other chants are slightly more subtle, aiming to imply that there is a divide in social class between those that go to Manchester University and those that go to Manchester Metropolitan.
“There’s some brilliant ones, like Your Dad Works for My Dad and I Go Somewhere You Don’t Go: Uni, Uni!” said Henry Quintana, a Maths student at the University of Manchester.
Despite the attempts of Manchester University students to keep things subtle, the students of Manchester Metropolitan appear to prefer a far blunter approach.
“I’d Rather Be a Poly Than a Cunt gets sung a lot on nights out,” laughed Jack Scott, a Human Geography student at Manchester Metropolitan.
“And sometimes we sing You Pay Our Uni Fees in response to the Your Dad Works for My Dad song.”
It seems that the feud derives from certain stereotypes that are often whispered about campus and, once heard, are not easily forgotten.
“A lot of people from Manchester University stereotype the Metropolitan students as art-crazed delinquents,” said Lenny Adekunle, an Architecture student at Manchester University.
“And I bet people from the Metropolitan stereotype everyone from Manchester University as posh, private-schooled toffs that were born with a small fortune.”
The denigration is often said in jest but it seems that the stereotypes have had some lasting effects on some peoples’ opinions.
“One of my friends actually admitted that she automatically rejects anyone on Tinder who goes to Man Met!” Elizabeth explained.
Worse still, it seems that the exaggerated stereotypes may actually prevent students from getting along with people from the ‘other side’.
“I’ve met a few people from Manchester University and I think I definitely relate more to the people at Man Met,” said William Hunt, Philosophy and Politics student at Manchester Metropolitan.
“I feel like the Manchester University students don’t really have much to them and I haven’t really got on with the ones I’ve met.”
The sound of Reds and Blues hurling abuse at each other from across the pitch may be all too familiar – but it seems that the students of Manchester are engrossed in their own battle for supremacy.
It’s time for MM to settle the feud.
The University Of Manchester has a great start, with ‘red brick’ status since 1880. Manchester Metropolitan lags behind, given University status in 1992.
“I think that the University of Manchester is considered better than Manchester Metropolitan because – for the majority of subjects – it produces more world-class research, has more of the country’s leading academics and has better facilities,” explained the University Challenge Captain.
GOAL: Manchester University one – nil Manchester Metropolitan
The University of Manchester has a strong attack, with around 39,000 students and 10,400 staff and is the largest single-site University in the UK with the biggest student’s union in the country.
Manchester Metropolitan is weaker upfront, with around 35,000 students but only 4,400 staff, and is fifth largest in the country in terms of student numbers.
GOAL: Manchester University two – nil Manchester Metropolitan
Manchester University has a stronger youth system and more students apply for entry than with any other University in the country, with 60,000 applications per year for undergraduate subjects.
Manchester Metropolitan doesn’t fall far behind with around 59,000 applications per year for undergraduate courses.
GOAL: Manchester University three – nil Manchester Metropolitan
Manchester Metropolitan may be on the back foot, but its defence is strong.
It is home to the Manchester Schools of Theatre and Art and is responsible for some of Britain’s favourite sons and daughters, including: John Bishop, Julie Walters, and the late Richard Griffiths.
The University of Manchester attempts to regain possession, taking credit for a number of brilliant minds such as those of Alan Turing, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
It’s a tough one.
GOAL: Manchester University three – one Manchester Metropolitan
After a slow start, Manchester Metropolitan manages to build momentum on the social side.
“Our university might be slightly smaller but we definitely go harder,” William added.
“We go out more often but maybe that’s because Manchester University students have more work to do!”
Lenny admits his side can’t compete and said: “I have to say that Man Met students do know how to have a night out and they go out much more than Manchester University students, even in second and third year.
“I went to a few nights and it was always cheap, always messy and always fun.”
GOAL: Manchester University three – two Manchester Metropolitan
Manchester Metropolitan completes a remarkable fightback.
The School of Art, which forms a part of Manchester Metropolitan today, produced Salford’s very own painter LS Lowry who attended in the years after the First World War.
The Lowry in Salford Quays is named after him and the gallery houses the world’s largest collection of his work.
Academia trumps art at Manchester University and that own goal costs them the lead.
Manchester University three – three Manchester Metropolitan
Just when things start to heat up, Manchester University grabs a Michael Owen-style last-minute winner, having triumphed in the BBC2 University Challenge competition four times in the last eight and reaching the semi-finals on the other occasions.
FINAL SCORE: Manchester University four – three Manchester Metropolitan
It seems that the University of Manchester may be regarded as ‘better’ on the basis of world-class research, leading academics and a history of famous or brilliant minds.
Manchester Metropolitan however, has its own qualities to bring to the (league) table with accredited arts and design courses, great nights out, and a wide variety of actors and comedians that have no doubt provided a world of entertainment since university.
“We all poke fun at each other but at the end of the day we all know we’ll be fine in our post-university lives,” Lenny concluded.
MM has given you the exclusive commentary. Let us know which university hits the back of the net for you.
Image courtesy of Mikey with thanks