Stoke On Trent, how the other cities mock us so! As if having a cathedral ever mattered? Southampton fares well, as does Bath.
Okay, so we may never have the pomp and prestige of London, or the brawn and sheer mindedness of Birmingham. We may lack the foresight and drive of Manchester, but Nottingham…aside from clinging to the coat-tails of your shared legend, what exactly do you have to offer that we do not?
Stoke On Trent is the favourite uncle. The one who, desperately out of touch with fashion turns up to your wedding in a pair of pressed white Flares, a satin shirt and mirrored sunglasses. Then uses the same chat up line on every one of the bridesmaids, stays rooted to the dance floor until they pull the power and tells everybody what a great night he’s had and is “glad to be out.”
Sure, Stoke On Trent may have soiled his trousers, (once or twice publicly) but he’ll always throw them aside and set about finding himself a new pair, just as garish and worn around the crotch as the last pair.
Yes, he may have a Nando’s, a Cineworld, a CEX and an INTU shopping centre, all the things you’d expect to find in any British City, but he also has a heart. A heart moulded by hard work and a bygone industry, and though now it may no longer beat like that of an athlete (more a world-weary, armchair philosopher) it beats strong and defiant, and we love him ever more for it.