What 'The Mancunian Way' means to me
Maybe you’re not from Manchester. Maybe you’ve never even seen it, or stepped in it.
If that’s the case, you might be wondering what on earth the phrase ‘the Mancunian Way’ means.
I know exactly how you feel, even though I’ve lived here all my life.
Like many of the most magical and amazing things in life – a beautiful colour, an amazing piece of music – the meaning of a place and its people is hard to define. Maybe it’s ultimately indescribable.
That’s not stopped people trying, mind. You might even know some of the well-known quotes that try to explain what makes the Mancunian Way unique.
Inspired by the 1960sGallery
Presenting 15 images from a decade in history that featured one of our coolest ever kits.
“This is Manchester. We do things differently here.”
“A city that thinks a table is for dancing on.”
And so on.
Manchester and the Mancunian Way have been inspiring people all over the world for a very, very long time. They’ve inspired you – whether you realise it or not. After all, you’re on this website, right now, like millions of others, reading about Manchester United Football Club.
The Mancunian Way helped Manchester to become the world’s first industrial city in the 19th century. The atom was first split here in 1917. The first computer was built here. Our sporting successes, our music, our culture are legendary.
But why Manchester? What is it about this place and our people that enables us to punch so far above our weight?
You can see the words ‘youth, courage, success’ on the new United home kit, which is said to be inspired by ‘the Mancunian Way’. And the history of our football club is very much about those three things.
But the character of the city and the Mancunian Way goes way beyond that. At least, in my opinion…
Ultimately, it’s about self-belief. About ambition. About understatement.
Don’t talk and shout about becoming the best. Show it. Do it. Prove it. Live it into reality.
That’s why a grimy, foul, unremarkable place in north-west England became the world’s first, great industrial city in the 19th century: because its local population believed it had as much right as anywhere else to be the centre of the world. They willed and worked it into being.
The people of Manchester and its adopted sons and daughters have kept on believing that ever since; have kept on trying to make it happen.
Sir Matt Busby wanted to reimagine Manchester United as the best club in the world. He didn’t see any reason why Real Madrid had any divine right to be enshrined as the one and only royal family of football, so he fashioned United in his own image and turned a modest club into a massive, continent-conquering behemoth.
Aspiring pop artists from other places might have felt like they had to move to New York, LA or London to make their careers. Mancunians, or Salfordians (like the late, great Tony Wilson) just started their own legendary record labels and saved on the train fares.
Possibly the greatest example of this unique Mancunian ability to bring the world to our own doorstep came in the late 19th century.
This is the Mancunian wayGallery
See how our players look in the new adidas home kit for the 2021/22 season.
Sick of being taxed on incoming goods by the docks and railway companies of port city Liverpool, Manchester organised the building of the Manchester Ship Canal. It effectively turned a landlocked city into one of Europe’s busiest sea ports.
Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown once quipped that Manchester had “everything except a beach”. But based on the story of the ship canal, who knows what the future could bring…
The industrial revolution and the ship canal also made Manchester a huge immigrant city. The Mancunian Way is big on inclusivity and has a real international spirit to it, in my experience. People from all over the world have made our city their home, and we’re proud they’ve chosen to do so. Manchester would be unrecognisable without their energy, creativity and generosity.
A huge number of our famous pop musicians – the Gallaghers, Morrissey, Johnny Marr to name but a few – descended from Irish immigrants. Sir Matt was, of course, Scottish, as is Sir Alex Ferguson.
Many of this club’s most famous English-speaking players come from outside of Manchester and England: George Best, Denis Law, Roy Keane and countless more.
In recent years players from all over the globe have become honorary Mancunians by buying into the city and its values. Reds like Patrice Evra, or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, or Paul Pogba, who explained in 2018: “When you’re Mancunian once, you’re Mancunian forever.”
Few embody ‘the Mancunian Way’ better than Eric Cantona, of course. Self-belief, ambition, understatement – Le Roi was a master of the lot. Eric believed he was as good as anyone, and dragged Manchester United forward into a new golden era by the strength of that cocky, upturned collar as much as anything else.
Revealed: Our new home kit for 2021/22Article
United and adidas are excited to release the highly-anticipated strip, featuring new shirt partner TeamViewer.
The new United home kit harks back to the halcyon days of arguably our greatest-ever players, Best, Law and Charlton, with a simple design that represents the club’s fantastic traditions. But modernity and the future are there too, in the new sponsor and the latest, up-to-date design tweaks.
And so they should be.
While it’s easy to focus on Manchester’s great past and incredible, heavyweight contributions to technology, architecture, football, fashion and music, those great things would not have happened if ‘the Mancunian Way’ was about cosy nostalgia.
They happened because people were always looking forward, always looking for inspiration. Always believing in themselves and their ambition; in their own quiet confidence that they had the ability to make magic. To make Manchester the centre of the world.
Manchester United Football Club is one of the greatest ever testaments to the power of the Mancunian Way. And we’re not finished yet. Not by a long shot.
Roll on 2021/22. And long live Manchester.