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The Top Ten News Stories of 2011

What you were reading on Confidential...

Written by . Published on December 27th 2011.


The Top Ten News Stories of 2011
2011 was the year it all kicked off.
The economy went into freefall, looters (not rioters) took to the streets for a mass shoplifting spree, and the public sector went on strike for a day in the ongoing row about pensions.
On the bright side the city showed its resilience with the fascinating and welcome boost of the BBC arriving in force, with major developments such as the Cooperative's NOMA, and the boosts to the east of the city given by the owners of Manchester City with their development plans.
It was also heart-warming to note the support and love for Manchester by citizens after the thugs had run amok. 
But what were the most read stories on Manchester Confidential?
No prizes for guessing which story took the top spot - with a mammoth 104,000 reads - but there are a couple of curveballs in there from our news section this year...

Our top ten most-read stories of the year:

1. Manchester Attacked
Yes, this was the night the city lost its marbles and Schofield, Gordo, Grimes, Tristan Welch and I found ourselves holed up in Piccolino (there are worse places) while all around us people put shop windows through.

We took to the streets too, bringing you exclusive on-the-scene pictures as the madness unfolded, including images of teenage girls literally ripping jeans off shop dummies and the running battle between the police and the crims.

We saw grown men send young boys into shops with instruction to clean the place out (Ugg); got caught in the middle as things turned nasty (Market Street, King Street); got threatened with a hiding by groups of loons (a bit of sharp thinking from Gordo saw him talk his way out of that one) and Tristan nearly got knocked off our scoop-bike.

We were in the city centre until almost midnight and I think it's safe to say none of us have ever seen anything like it. Genuinely frightening at times, but mostly just soul-destroyingly depressing, especially when the perpetrators started dishing out half-arsed reasons for what they were doing.

Social revolution will not come through nicking trainers. Stealing a camera is not sending a message to the government about the country's taxation policy.

The response was swift and firm in the following days, as the police took to the streets and started making arrests left, right and centre. And then maybe the sentences went too far. 

Will we ever see anything like it again? Let's hope not. Unless Rangers have a cup final here again, of course.

2. The Petition: City Centre Parking
A debate which is still going on, this was your (and our) response to the frankly lunatic changes to the city's parking charges and the laughable reasons the council tried to dress it up with instead of just saying it was all about the money.

Our online petition garnered more than 6,100 people. The council said they took heed of this huge 'No' but still felt the case for introducing the changes and charges was compelling.

So the Sunday charging and an extra two hours of pain six days a week went ahead anyway, after a flaccid 'consultation' with residents who didn't want it and businesses who were starting to see their complaints of killing their evening trade come to fruition.

The result is a change of perception of the city centre when traders least needed it. You can't 'pop in' to the city centre after six any more without it costing you more than £4 until the clock strikes 8pm.

The Christmas markets have masked the effects of the charges. Come the New Year, it could start putting people out of business.

3. Police show restraint but not in this video

The fallout of the riot rumbled on for a few days, from clean up campaigns to Youtube videos. This one showed some of of Greater Manchester's thin blue line getting tough.

Some were shocked, others thought that cracking heads sooner might have helped disperse the crowds.

4. Explosion in Albert Square
When a gas canister blew halfway through a quiz at the Food and Drink Festival, it provided more than a bit of excitement, and landed one poor chap in hospital.

Schofield was there with his camera to capture the drama, which could have been a lot, lot worse.

5. Top Ten Bad Bars
We ran a list of police call outs to every pub, bar and nigthclub in Manchester back in January, and it caused quite a stir.

This story, however, ran in March, after we submitted an FOI to Greater Manchester Police. At a licencing hearing regarding Panacea on John Dalton Street, a GMP representative said it was in their list of top ten bad bars'. However, when the list arrived, it wasn't.

The list gave another tantalising glimpse into some of the city's more...active areas, however.

6. Exclusive: Paul Heaton Takes Over Kings Arms, Salford

Paul Heaton moving into the Kings Arms pubs in Salford, just over the river from Spinningfields and down from the Mark Addy provoked a good debate. 

The House Martins and Beautiful South frontman is a pub lover at heart and faced up to any criticism about his plans for the classic Victorian boozer in a characteristically direct manner.

On the rants he replied directly with: 'Just to reply to the above. We have no intentions of changing anything other than what we have to. The staff are integral, so they'll stay. The contents of the jukebox go with Jo and Jon, so we'll just have to replace it with the help and ideas of Phil and Giles and other regular staff. As for the money grabber from outside Salford- the prices won't be going up. I'm a middle aged man who hates trendy bars and their muppet clientele. Too many of the pubs I've drunk in down the years have been ruined by 'money grabbers'. This pub will remain the same! Cheers P. Heaton.'

7. Red Hot World Buffet Opening
There were few high-profile openings this year, but in terms of bums on seats, there can be only one. 

Red Hot World Buffet has gone down an absolute storm, taking around £140,000 on a good week. In fact, the Friday it took £40,000 in a day.

Forty grand. In a day.

The food may not be the best, and the place itself may not be everybody's idea of a desirable dining experience, but the public at large have piled in to its all-you-can-eat fixed-price schtick.

We went to the opening. It was bizarre. Re-live it here.

(Click here to add text)

8. Food Hygiene Scores Updated
We first broke the news of how the city centre establishments fared in April here - this is the August update. Who scored highly and who needs to give themselves a good scrub with some Cilit Bang and a wire cloth?

9. City Centre Fumes About Car Parking Charges 
More reaction to the parking charges situation, including a swear word and everything.

10. Daily Mail Rubbish
Heartening to see any article with this headline in the most-read list, although to be fair, l reckon we could have knocked one of these out a week. Possibly more.

As an aside, I think my favourite headline of the year actually came from The Daily Hate Mail, which was a double-page spread tagged: 'WHY EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT PARENTING IS WRONG.'

Typically non-alarmist.

Have a rocking New Year.

 

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