Dear Santa, love Manchester: What the city’s sports clubs want for Christmas

There will be several excitable coaches, managers and owners of our region’s sports teams, as they anticipate unwrapping their presents on Christmas morning.

Will their eyes light up as they get what they wanted? Or will they have to perfect that all-too-familiar expression of fake gratefulness as they unwrap a hideously unwanted gift?

Here at MM, we’ve taken a peek at the letters sent to the North Pole, and can reveal exactly what they’re hoping for…

Manchester United

Louis van Gaal will no doubt be relishing a trip to his favourite restaurant Wings over the Christmas period and will be eager to have a relaxing glass of wine during the festive season.

After a barrage of abuse from the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, the Dutchman would love to win them over with some electrifying displays.

A fit and firing Wayne Rooney would aid his cause. England’s all-time top scorer has failed to prove a hit under the Van Gaal regime and with the jury out on both, a successful festive period would ease some of the scrutiny surrounding the pair.

Manchester City

Given his gaunt look at times, there is a case for giving Manuel Pellegrini some multivitamins for Christmas this year and hope that a rejuvenated Manchester City manager can extract a sliver of consistency from his players.

But what the Chilean manager really needs to salve his lack of colour on those rainy Champions League nights is a fit striker, and a captain who can play more than three games without missing the following ten.

However, keeping Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany fit may even be beyond even Father Christmas.

Bolton Wanderers

Where to start for Neil Lennon?

Three points and a bit of luck would be useful, with Bolton currently cut adrift at the bottom of the Championship.

Even before the ushering in of 2016, this season looks like a write-off, so Neil Lennon will be desperately wishing for new, preferably cash-rich owners, so that Wanderers can start next season in a better position.


At this festive time of year boss David Flitcroft may be wishing for a magic touch when it comes to preventing injuries.

The Shakers have defied the odds on their return to League One as they sit three points off the play-off places.

But injuries could play a key part in determining the outcome to the season, with Bury having to field as few as three substitutes in some league games and having emergency loan goalkeepers ruled out with injury themselves.

Wigan Athletic

With Wigan billed as pre-season favourites to win League One after two relegations in three seasons, Gary Caldwell would love a clutch of wins in his Christmas stocking.

Knocked out of all the cup competitions, their FA Cup victory of 2013 seems a long time ago and promotion is the only salvation for the Latics and their fans.

Caldwell would love nothing more than to bring back some of the glory days he experienced with the club as a player. 

Oldham Athletic

Top of David Dunn’s Christmas list is that elusive home win.

Since taking over from Darren Kelly in September, Dunn’s only Boundary Park victory has come in the FA Cup, when Mansfield were the visitors.

That looked to be a turning point, but it has been more of the same with Barnsley and Southend among those leaving Oldham with all three points.


Keith Hill would love some consistency for Christmas.

While the season is going to plan thus far with Dale sitting in 13th place with a comfortable six-point cushion from the drop, Hill’s side have failed to record back-to-back wins all season.

In fact, you have to go back to the March 21 for the last time they recorded consecutive victories and Hill will no doubt be keen to get that monkey off their back sooner rather than later.

Sale Sharks

Steve Diamond would like nothing more than the chance to go a few rounds in the boxing ring with Paul Ackford this Christmas.

After Ackford’s less-than-flattering comments made in an open letter to Eddie Jones last month, Dimes would no doubt like to pay back the ‘dinosaur’ who said his Sharks were not worth the England coach bothering with.

All Ackford would want for Christmas, if the Sale boss had his way, would be his two front teeth…

Failing that, a win on the road for Sale would be a welcome alternative!

Manchester Thunder

There is no doubt that coach Dan Ryan will want a good debut season at the top of his Christmas list, with his Thunder team set to begin their campaign at the end of January.

The second thing Ryan will hope for is a moderately warm Christmas. The Melbourne-born boss is used to waking up to 30 degree heat on December 25, so a mild festive period would not go amiss for him! 

Manchester Giants

Head coach Yorick Williams will undeniably be wishing for a golden ticket to the play-offs.

His side would have been aiming to finish in the play-offs this season after missing out on the stage by just two points last year.

However after starting the season with back-to-back wins, the Giants embarked on a run of just one win in 13, leaving them in serious need of a stroke of luck from somewhere.

Manchester Phoenix

Owner Neil Morris will be hoping for a visit from Lady Luck rather than Santa Claus this Christmas Day.

Manchester Phoenix have been plagued by injuries this year, whilst playing out of Deeside Ice Rink in North Wales after departing from Altrincham Ice Rink. 

With a short bench to play with, Phoenix have won just nine of their 25 clashes this season.

Morris has praised the unending support of the fans who make the trip across the border each week, but will have hopes for his side to secure a Manchester base for the 2016/17 season and return to winning ways.

Images courtesy of Yatharth, via Wikipedia and Manchester United, Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers and Sale Sharks, all via Youtube

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