Manchester is a city that is never going to forget the bombing attack but is busy getting on with life. I went to an event there on Thursday evening and had time for a short walk around the city centre before I came home on Friday. I saw people laying down flowers in St Ann’s Square but I also saw people playing in the fountains in Piccadilly Gardens. That is what people have to do, of course, most people have to keep on with the regular routine. But, as David Conn wrote, “life will never be normal again for those who have really suffered, and they must be given all the support they need”.
The event I attended on Thursday was the launch of Women at the Game, which was set up to encourage women to attend live sports events by arranging for groups of women to go together. It is the brainchild of Jacqui Forster, an Altrincham FC fan, who doesn’t feel that a diagnosis of terminal cancer is any reason to stop being involved with the game that she loves. The event had to be moved to a different venue because the original one, the National Football Museum, was too near to the scene of the bombing. And one of the planned speakers, Andy Burnham, had to send his apologies because his job as Mayor of Manchester required him to be elsewhere.
I was glad that Jacqui had managed to have the event despite all the obstacles and felt inspired by her. I also had a good chat with a Macclesfield Town supporter. We hadn’t met before but had something in common because we are football fans and involved with supporters trusts. I was reminded of how football can bring people together. At times like this, we need things that can bring communities together to resist the forces that want to tear us apart.