Going to the Empire Games was great fun, particularly because
the stadium was already bedecked in sky blue and white, the colours of my beloved
local football team.
They move there in a year or so and I
see that Jonathan Edwards, the top triple-jumper, has clocked what I wrote last
Its ridiculous that a stadium as great
as this is being handed on a trowel to Manchester City Football Club who could
well win the Premiership next year, he almost said.
Manchester Evening News won the Gold Medal for Imaginative Journalism on
Friday though, covering the front page with an appeal to the English Minister
for Sport, Dick Caborn.
Dick, it said,
open your eyes.
That was about it, really,
apart from saying he was in Manchester that day and he should have a good look
around at the enthusiasm with which people like to sell tourists as much beer
as they can.
Then it said the Commonwealth Games had been
an overwhelming success. It accepted that the running track has to go (its
been rolled up and despatched to Birmingham) and that Manchester could never stage
the Olympics on its own.
I must add here that Manchester
City Football Club could not countenance a stadium where a running track meant
their fans would be too far away from the action, should there be any.
it said the Minister should take a good look around you.
what is that Dick has to open his eyes to? Is it that the Manchester Evening
News, as part of the Guardian Media Group, was one of the Games sponsors?
so was Imperial Leather and at least they made sure there was nice soap in the
The whole point about the Olympics is that it
invites bids from CITIES, not countries, that six of them bid every four years
and that they have to actually create some of the facilities so they can be judged.
It means that five cities have improved sporting facilities every four years that
they wouldnt otherwise have budgeted for, though they could have done.
thought perhaps I would have stopped being so cynical about these empirical games
in Manchester by now, but I havent. About five years ago I wanted to write
a piecette saying: We dont want the Commonwealth Games here...
theyve gone ahead and by Didsbury I think theyve done it in their
own Manchurian way.
The games end on Sunday night and Ill
be watching the fireworks again at the closing ceremony from the apartment where
she-who-makes-real-chips lives. No doubt well be having chips again, but
at least she doesnt drink and shes never been to Ibiza.