It has rained for most of the last 24 hours. It is Manchester.
This, for many people, is all they need to know: Manchester is rain; rain is Manchester. Radio 5 kept banging on about it during last night’s match. Of course, it’s nonsense, as the man from the Met Office explains:
“You can’t stop people making the usual assumptions about weather in the North West in general and Manchester in particular. But, contrary to Manchester’s reputation, there are wetter cities.”
Manchester is certainly not the wettest place in the UK, it is not even the wettest city (Swansea, Londonderry, Glasgow, Plymouth, Cardiff, Preston, Belfast and Bristol all saw more rainfall) – though Manchester Science Festival research reckons we’re getting wetter. Still, it is drier and has fewer rainy days than the UK average. And there are no weather warnings for this week.
Harmless cliché? Maybe. That depends whether this slur is detrimental to Manchester’s fortunes. Was it a fear of this non-stop rain that scared off the BBC’s new Salford HR director? Did the IOC buy into the falsehood that Manchester is wetter than Sydney (average August rainfall: 5.57cm v 9.73cm) when awarding the 2000 Olympics?
No. That would be silly.
But I’m not sure that the association with rain is a compliment (doubly insulting given the current hosepipe ban). What to do? Zero tolerance coupled with re-education? Or ‘own’ the slur, like some kind of weather-obsessed Niggaz With Attitude?