2010-2020: Manchester in a Decade | Davis Blank Furniss Solicitors
Manchester Arena bombing memorial on Oldham Street, Manchester

We’re quickly approaching the end of not just another year, but another decade. The 2010s have seen many highs and lows, and Manchester has been no stranger to either. So, how have things gone for the city over the past 10 years? We’ve taken a look back at the decade, and how things have changed in the worlds of sport, music and more.


MediaCityUK, based at Salford Quays, started to grow in 2010 as major broadcasters announced their eventual moves to the location. In July, the BBC announced their latest move following previous announcements about their children’s, sports and Radio 5 Live departments, this time confirming Salford would become the new permanent location of flagship news show BBC Breakfast. The show eventually made its move in April 2012.

MediaCityUK at Salford Quays

Meanwhile, in December 2010, ITV made a similar announcement, including a confirmation of plans to build a new Coronation Street set, and move Granada operations, including regional news production, to the area.

In comedy, Peter Kay made a big comeback with his first arena tour since 2003, with “The Tour That Doesn’t Tour Tour… Now On Tour” opening with a twenty night residency at Manchester Arena – a record breaking feat.


What started as protests over the police killing of local man Mark Duggan in Tottenham, London in August this year, soon spread to riots across the UK, with Manchester being one of the locations of violence on the evening of 9th August. The city centre was a no-go zone, with rioting beginning on Market Street and spreading to places including Oldham Street and St Ann’s Square, as a large number of people vandalised and looted shops, with Market Street’s Miss Selfridge store even getting set on fire. The crowds of rioters eventually dispersed on the same evening, and although there were fears of recurrence over the following days, this was the only major incident in the area.

In football, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side broke a major record, as they won their 19th league title with a nine-point lead over Chelsea and local rivals Manchester City in the Premier League. Meanwhile, the blue side of Manchester had something to celebrate too, as Roberto Mancini’s team ended a 35 year trophy drought with a 1-0 win over Stoke City at Wembley to win the FA Cup.


Famously, the UK was home to the Olympics in 2012, with the world’s eyes on London. However, Manchester too got in on the action, with Old Trafford hosting multiple football matches, including a semi-final in both the men’s and women’s tournaments. As a result of Britain’s successes at the games, a series of commemorative gold post boxes were installed across the UK, with two appearing in Manchester. In Piccadilly Gardens, one was installed in recognition of the GB Cycling team, whose HQ is based in Manchester. Team member Philip Hindes, who won the gold medal in the men’s team sprint with Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny, was given his own post box on Albert Square, opposite the town hall.

In 2012, Manchester Arena hosted one of its more unusual events, as comedian Russell Brand presented a special audience with the Dalai Lama. The event was part of a 10-day tour of the UK, with the Dalai Lama spreading his teachings to a young audience – under 25s were granted free entry.

In the world of music, one of Manchester’s best musical exports The Stone Roses reformed after a 15 year split, embarking on a world tour that commenced in May 2012 in Warrington, with later gigs including a three-date residency at Heaton Park.

Heaton Park was home to the Parklife festival for the first time too. Originating as the “Mad Ferret” festival in Rusholme’s Platt Fields Park in 2010, it first moved to Heaton Park under its current “Parklife” name in 2012, with acts including The Flaming Lips, Dizzee Rascal, Labrinth, and Noah & The Whale.

Heaton Park, Manchester

In July 2012, the former Urbis building reopened as the new home of the National Football Museum, previously located in Preston. The new museum drew in more than 500,000 visitors in its first year of operation, and contains footballing memorabilia from over 200 years worth of British and international football.

On top of this, present day football in the city had plenty going on too, with Manchester City winning their first ever Premier League title, and first top tier league title since 1968, as Sergio Aguero scored a dramatic last minute goal to snatch the title from United with seconds to spare.


It was another busy year for football in Manchester, as Manchester United won their 20th league title with an 11 point lead, in what would be long-serving manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season at the club. After 26 years at the helm of United, Ferguson confirmed his retirement on 8th May, with Everton manager David Moyes announced as his replacement the following day. During his time as manager, Sir Alex Ferguson won 38 trophies with the club, making him the sport’s most successful manager in history.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United

There was a managerial change at Manchester City too, as exactly one year after their historic first Premier League title win, Roberto Mancini was sacked, and temporarily replaced by Collyhurst-born Brian Kidd, before the appointment of Chilean, Manuel Pellegrini.

Following expansion in 2012 to Oldham and Shaw, the city’s Metrolink network continued to grow in 2013, as trams travelled across the new East Manchester line for the first time. First operating with services to Droylsden in February, the expansion continued further in October, with services terminating in Ashton-under-Lyne.


Manchester City won two trophies in the same season for the first time since 1970, with Manuel Pellegrini’s first year at the helm of the club ending with both the Premier League and League Cup titles. The other side of the city was less successful though, with the post-Ferguson era ending with a 7th place league finish, their lowest since 1990. New manager David Moyes was sacked less than a year into his tenure, replaced by Ryan Giggs, who played the last few games of his career before retirement as interim player-manager. At the start of the next season, Dutchman Louis van Gaal took over the club, hoping to turn things around.

2014 also saw a big change for another icon of Manchester, as Coronation Street moved to a new filming location in Salford Quays. The long-running soap had been filmed on the same purpose-built set at Granada Studios on Quay Street since 1982, but with the studios closing, and moving operations to the new MediaCityUK complex in Salford, Coronation Street followed suit. A two year project began to recreate the street identically, with the show’s productions officially moving in 2014. Meanwhile, the old set was opened to the public again for the first time since the closure of the Granada Studios Tour in 1999, running until 2015.

Coronation Street's former Quay Street set at Granada Studios

Late music legend Prince made an unplanned, surprise appearance in Manchester in February of this year, with two gigs at Manchester Academy announced only on the day of the first show. He returned to the city again two months later in May for some less intimate shows, playing two nights at Manchester Arena.


In 2015, a TV classic returned for the first time since 2002, this time in stage form. The cast of Channel 4 sitcom “Phoenix Nights” reunited for the first time in 13 years, with a series of shows at Manchester Arena to raise money for Comic Relief, with Peter Kay reprising roles such as Brian Potter, alongside co-stars Paddy McGuinness, Dave Spikey, and Neil Fitzmaurice. The show was struck by disaster on the opening night though, as veteran entertainer Ted Robbins, who played Den Perry in the show, collapsed on stage and was rushed to hospital after suffering a heart problem. He quickly recovered though, and the show continued for its remaining dates.

Also this year, Manchester City Council approved plans for an exciting new construction project to replace the former Granada Studios. The approval in July meant that plans could start to come to fruition for ‘The Factory Manchester‘, which would be built on the site of the former iconic studios. The 13,300 development will feature theatre and cultural space, and will become the new home of the Manchester International Festival. Named after Manchester’s legendary Factory Records label, the space was originally scheduled for a summer 2019 opening, but now looks set to be open its doors in September 2020.


There was moderate success for both Manchester sides in 2016, but not enough for the managers of each club to keep their jobs. In February, Manchester City beat Liverpool on penalties to take that year’s League Cup, while Manchester United defeated Crystal Palace 2-1 in May to win the FA Cup. At the start of 2016, however, Manchester City decided to end speculation by announcing they’d agreed a deal to bring renowned coach Pep Guardiola to the club for the next season, allowing Pellegrini to see out his tenure. Meanwhile, United’s van Gaal was sacked after a disappointing season, just two days after the FA Cup win, with his replacement announced to be three-times Premier League winner Jose Mourinho.

The Olympics came to Manchester again in 2016, although this time it was after the games had ended. Rio de Janeiro hosted the games this year, with Team GB having a successful run. They finished second on the medal table with 27 gold medals, and the third highest number of medals overall (67), with the great achievements meaning a celebratory victory parade on return to the UK. Approximately 350 athletes were seen by more than 150,000 onlookers on the streets of Manchester in October, with London also getting a parade the following week.


2017 was a devastating year for the city of Manchester, with one major incident dominating world news. On 22nd May 2017, a suicide bomber attacked the foyer area of Manchester Arena, detonating explosives shortly after the culmination of an Ariana Grande concert. At the time of the explosion, the foyer was filled with people leaving the concert and parents waiting to collect their children. The detonation had catastrophic results, with more than 800 people injured, 112 of whom were hospitalised. In total, 22 people were killed in the explosion, the youngest of whom was eight years old.

The aftermath of the attack saw the city of Manchester come together, with many people offering shelter and accommodation to people on the same evening, and later a huge ocean of floral tributes amassed in St Ann’s Square.

Tributes to Manchester Arena bombing victims in St Annes Square

The following month saw a huge benefit concert take place at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, organised by Ariana Grande to raise money for the victims of the attack. The ‘One Love Manchester’ concert was a huge success, sold out within 20 minutes, and broadcast to millions of viewers around the world. Grande was joined by artists including Take That, Robbie Williams, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, and the Black Eyed Peas, while Liam Gallagher flew directly from a festival in Germany for a surprise performance. By the day after the concert, British Red Cross announced donations of more than £10m had been given, while Ariana Grande was later named the first ever ‘honorary citizen’ of Manchester.

Meanwhile, Manchester Arena remained closed for several months after the attack, later reopening on 7th September with another benefit gig, this time organised and headlined by Noel Gallagher, who was joined by other North West artists including Courteeners, Blossoms, Rick Astley, and Manchester poet Tony Walsh.


In 2018, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side had a season of huge success. Starting with a 3-0 League Cup win over Arsenal in February, City’s second trophy of the season came early in the season, as they won the Premier League with five games to spare, a feat that broke a record. Other records included the biggest title winning points margin, most goals, most wins, and most points, as they became the first team ever to get 100 points in the history of the league.

Etihad Stadium, Manchester

At the end of the year, Manchester United underwent yet another managerial change, sacking Jose Mourinho and replacing him with former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a caretaker basis.

Coronation Street unveiled a newly expanded set this year, marketing the first major change to the show’s on-screen appearance for decades. As part of the new expansion, the set included a new Costa Coffee and Co-op food store, as well as a police station and Metrolink stop. A public garden was also added to the street, featuring a bench that pays tribute to the 22 victims of the previous year’s terrorist attack.


This year has been a busy one for Manchester, as multiple major events were hosted and many achievements made.

In May, the 2019 Cricket World Cup launched, this year being hosted by England & Wales. Manchester was one of the country’s locations to welcome visitors from across the globe, with five group stage matches, and one of the semi-finals, taking place at Old Trafford cricket ground. Games in Manchester included India v Pakistan, South Africa v Australia, and England v Afghanistan, while the semi-final between India and New Zealand, who England went on to beat in the final, also took place at Old Trafford.

In August, Manchester marked the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre with the unveiling of a new memorial outside the Manchester Central Convention Complex. Artist Jeremy Deller designed the circular stone step memorial, which features the names of the 18 people who died during the tragic events, in which a cavalry charged into crowds of up to 80,000 people protesting for representation in parliament.

Peterloo Massacre Memorial

Also in August, Manchester’s annual Pride festival underwent some major changes, with the live show part of the weekend moving to the former Mayfield depot near Piccadilly Station. Alongside artists such as Years & Years, Bananarama, and Pixie Lott, Ariana Grande made her return to the city for the first time since the aftermath of the 2017 terrorist attack at her concert.

In football, 2019 marked the first time Manchester City would retain a league title, as the blues secured their fourth Premier League title, alongside both the FA Cup and League Cup, to become the first side to win a domestic treble. Things were looking up for Manchester United too, with rejuvenated form securing caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the job on a full time basis, signing a three year deal.


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