It's hard to think that the Pride Of Manchester 'empire' grew from an idea on a drunken night out.
Chief Executive, Neil Jones explains...
"I seem to remember we had been to the game (United 1-0 Liverpool) and had met up in town afterwards with 25 Swiss lads, 5 Germans and 2 Austrians from the Swiss Devils (Manchester United Supporters Club). We had a fantastic banquet at Pearl City in China Town, spent a couple of hours with the Dutch United Supporter's Club singing in the not so glamorous surroundings (even back then) of Wetherspoon's at Piccadilly and then got extremely drunk together in R.S.V.P. on Deansgate.
"I remember us all being sat on the steps to The Bridgewater Hall, down by the canal basin, tearing strips off a disgusting greasy Allen's Fried Chicken, and admiring the fantastic architecture that surrounded us, long before the horrible Beetham Tower blighted the skyline.
"Many of the foreigners were claiming that Manchester was the best place they had ever visited (possibly a result of the alcohol), and we got talking about the talent that had emerged from the city. One of the German lads really wanted to see The Haçienda, The Boardwalk and some other place that I thought only us Mancs would have surely heard of. The others were telling us that we should be so proud of our city - its football team, music scene and scientific breakthroughs. It was then, the idea for the website was devised, albeit Boddingtons-fuelled, (in the days when Boddies was a Manchester beer!)".
Originally set up as a hobby in July 1999 as united MANCHESTER, the site has continued to grow and grow thanks to its many contributors. With a name change to Pride Of Manchester in 2000 (the old name often mislead people to believe the site was solely devoted to Manchester United FC), the site has continued to grow in popularity at an astonishing pace and now enjoys over 8 million unique readers each year...
After becoming a full-time operation in September 2003 with then just three permanent employees (Neil, Jim and Rob), today, Pride Of Manchester has grown to be a large collection of websites, expanding further afield to include one of the biggest bar guides for Europe in BestBarsEurope.com, price comparison site CompareTheTicketPrice.com and, at one time or another, the largest hotel guides for the O2 Arena, Wembley, Twickenham, and even the Faroe Islands.
The first ever Pride Of Manchester Awards were held in 2009, with Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo and the entire Manchester United squad presenting our "Mancunian of the Year" award to brave cancer battler Tom Buckley, for his incredible work raising over £95,000 for The Christie. We would help make the youngster's dream come true, shortly before his untimely death, by surprising him with a trip to Zurich, where his idols Oasis would invite him backstage and dedicate the song "Wonderwall" to him. [video]
Whilst ManchesterTheatres.com now shifts over £10 million worth of concert tickets for Manchester each year, Pride Of Manchester also produce the largest theatre guides for many other English cities including Liverpool, Birmingham and Oxford amongst many, with LondonTheatres.com set to be launched in 2019.
As the Pride Of Manchester site goes from strength to strength, don't expect us to stray too far from our original philosophy... one that celebrates Manchester - the Rock'n'Goal Capital of the World - and it's amazing talent in a way that typifies the personality of the region's people... friendly, fun loving and informal!.