Sporting heritage

When it comes to sport, Manchester punches above its weight. The Commonwealth Games of 2002 confirmed its importance, but for many years the city has played a significant role in the heritage of English sport…

Commonwealth Games
With the Commonwealth Games 2002 Manchester delivered the largest multi-sport event ever held in England, hosting over 4000 competitors from 72 nations.
The Games secured Manchester’s reputation as an international sporting destination, and left the city with a range of world-class sporting facilities. Mancunians and visitors alike can now enjoy the City of Manchester Stadium, the National Squash Centre, Bolton Arena and the National Aquatics Centre.

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Belle Vue Stadium
Greyhound racing has a fine tradition in England, and it was at Manchester’s Belle Vue Stadium that the country’s first ever race around an oval track took place, on 24 July 1926.
Most of the 1700 people present that day would have been working-class men in flat caps. But these days you meet all kinds of people at the dogs, as greyhound racing has become one of the country’s most popular spectator sports. The stadium also hosts speedway and stock car racing.

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Horse racing
Manchester is surrounded by racecourses that reverberate with history.
Chester Racecourse is the country’s oldest, dating back to the early sixteenth century.
Haydock Park, in Merseyside, has been around since 1899 and >a href="">Cartmel Racecourse, is one of England’s most picturesque, situated in the Lake District.
Just a 45 minute drive from Manchester, the world’s most famous steeplechase, The Grand National, is held at Aintree, Liverpool.

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Old Trafford

The home of Lancashire Cricket Club has its place in sporting history thanks to England’s Jim Laker who, in 1956, was the first player ever to take 10 wickets in an innings. That Australia were the opponents makes the record even more satisfying to England fans.


Rugby League is big in the region. Local team St Helens lost the first ever Challenge Cup final in 1897 but they’ve won it ten times since and enjoy a bitter local rivalry with Wigan. Super League representation is provided by Salford and Warrington.
Rugby Union is traditionally more popular in the south than the north of England, But that has not stopped Sale Sharks, based in Stockport, one of the oldest clubs in rugby history and in 2005/6 league champions.

top tips

  1. If you fancy a flutter on the dogs or horses, give yourself a strategic advantage by studying the form at the racing post website (see links)
  2. Old Trafford regularly hosts international cricket matches (Tests). Details at the ECB website in the links section
  3. The National Squash Centre will host the National Squash Championships from 7-14 February 2010.