Manchester pipped to City of Football title by… Nottingham

Manchester has lost out in its bid to be named England’s first ever city of football.

Nottingham pipped Manchester and Portsmouth to win the right to stage a £1.6million two-year pilot project aimed at testing ways of getting more people playing football regularly.

Despite tasting defeat, Manchester County FA said they are still ‘determined’ to improve grassroots football in the region, and thanked Manchester City Council for their ‘continued commitment and investment into sport and particularly grassroots football in Manchester’.

“All at Manchester County FA would like to first congratulate those involved in the Nottingham Bid in becoming the first city of football,” MCFA chief executive Colin Bridgford said. “Well done, Nottingham!”

“We know how much time and effort the consortium here in Manchester has contributed and we know that effort will have been replicated by the teams representing both Portsmouth and Nottingham.”

The Football Association had £1.6million of public funding for the amateur game cut by Sport England in March after failing to reverse declining participation numbers, and was hoping to claw that back through the new pilot scheme.

Mr Bridgford added: “In Manchester we will reflect, review our bid and consider the items we can continue to consider that will help to make a contribution to grassroots football in our great city.

“Today was not our day, but we will now continue to push forward planning for tomorrow.”

South Manchester MP John Leech has expressed his disappointment at losing out to Nottingham, claiming Manchester was the ‘obvious choice’.

“To me, Manchester had a strong bid and was the obvious choice,” Mr Leech said.

“It is already a City of Football with two of the biggest clubs in Europe. I am disappointed that Sport England has gone for Nottingham”

“I will be speaking to Sport England today to try and understand what Nottingham put in their bid that Manchester didn’t.”

A statement from Sport England said Nottingham clinched their bid ‘by mobilising an impressive group of private, public and voluntary sector partners from both inside and outside the traditional football family, to do whatever it takes to get more people – particularly those aged 14-25 years – playing all kinds of football regularly’.

Nottingham particularly impressed Sport England with a digital platform, called Playbook, which will help people planning football activities in the city target potential players with relevant offers.

Sport England said they will now work will work with Manchester and Portsmouth to develop their own proposal ideas alongside Nottingham’s Playbook.

Phil Smith, Sport England’s Director of Sport, said: “We’re delighted to name Nottingham as Sport England’s City of Football. Football is this country’s most popular team sport but there is still a real capacity to grow.

“Nottingham has an exciting and inventive response to the challenge of getting more people to play the game and we will look forward to working with them to make this happen.”

Nigel Cooke, Head of One Nottingham, said news was great for Nottingham and its people, and will ‘transform the footballing landscape in the city’.

He said: “One Nottingham will continue to bring together organisations and experts from across the city to ensure we deliver an exceptional, joined-up and creative programme, resulting in a social football revolution.”

Image courtesy of Manchester City FC via YouTube with thanks

Related Articles