“Ah Wolverhampton. The armpit of England.”
At the start of the year I spent a couple of days or so in Edinburgh with my wife, daughter and parents in law.
On the last day I went to the Whiskey experience, because, why not?
When paying for the tickets, the vendor politely asked where my wife and I were from. When we said Wolverhampton, that is the response we got.
Here’s another one.
I was at a friends weddings a few weeks ago.
Most of my school friends who we’re still in regular contact with moved out of Wolverhampton years ago for all the different life reasons.
The conversation turned to accents. One said “We don’t really have Wolverhampton accents, do we?”.
We all nodded and agreed. However, when It came to me, the group belly laughed with me looking bemused.
“Says the guy with the most broad Wolverhampton accent!”
Now, a bit of a back story here. In recent weeks to my surprise both Fancast and work colleagues have told me I don’t have such an accent.
I was even told I have a ‘non-regional’ accent. They couldn’t place where I would be from.
This ‘ridicule’ annoyed me for a couple of days, and then I thought, why would it be a problem if I did have a Wolverhampton accent?
Why would having it have a negative affect?
Let’s all move on now
It’s just becoming a bit tiring now this whole Wolverhampton is a ‘s**t hole’ vibe.
It’s still driven by little digs on TV. An opinion passed down through generations in families across the UK.
Why is that opinion not seen as a bit tired now?
It’s always the same and it’s getting old pretty quickly.
‘Wolverhampton is crap, eh?’. A lovely original opinion there.
Unfortunately those outside of the city, and some in it, don’t see the rich historical elements of Wolverhampton, and how it has benefited the country.
Unfortunately negative public opinion in the millennium city continues after Wolverhampton was voted the second worst city in the UK following a YouGov Poll.
This is on the back of Lonely Planet in 2009 voting Wolverhampton as the fifth worse city in the world. Ahead of the slums of Rio de Janerio.
What’s hilarious about the latter’s poll is the fact that they say that they have never visited Wolverhampton!
How can you make such an opinion if you’ve never visited the place?
Or is it that this shows a continued outdated stereotype, a quick win to help draw in web clicks and an up on the analytics.
You’d be surprised the amount of people who think badly of Wolverhampton yet have actually never been to the city.
It’s not a utopia
Don’t get me wrong, Wolverhampton is far from perfect.
It still needs some love and attention. It lacks resources and facilities of some larger cities, and Wolverhampton has to play it’s part in changing this opinion. Starting with the continual rejuvenation of the city centre.
But it is a city which, like many, has its good and bad points. Yet society only looks at its ‘flaws’.
Of course, no one talks about how it’s one of the best cities in the UK to raise a family according to a recent report.
No-one also sees the great work taking place in the surrounding areas, outside of the city centre.
Keep investing in its core, give it some unique attractions and that wheel will start turning.
We all do it
We’ve all be self-depricating about Wolverhampton. Sometimes it becomes natural.
There’s easily been times where I’ve said ‘Well, that’s Wolverhampton for you’.
But all this waffling leads me on to this.
Our team, Wolverhampton Wanderers if you had forgotten, has reached the peak of English football.
The sides success last season, with our Chinese overlords and a splash of Portuguese thrown in, has made Wolves a hot topic of discussion during the start of the season.
If it was a Premier League preview, in the paper or on TV, odds on there would be a extended feature on Wolves.
Fosun want Wolves to go places, and if their plans for the club stay on course, there will be even more attention to our team and subsequently, our city.
So, shouldn’t we be less deprecating about the city our team is from?
Sticking up for our city
Look, this isn’t a call to arms piece.
I’m not asking everyone to don your homes with black country flags, only buy orange chips and call for a referendum for Wolverhampton to be annexed from the rest of the country (let’s keep the politics out of this lads).
All I’m saying is, let’s take a bit more pride in our city, you know, the home of our football club.
Many of us don’t live in Wolverhampton anymore so next time someone has a little giggle at the home of the UK’s first traffic lights, ask why it’s such a laughing matter?
The next time you naturally roll your eyes when talking to Geoff in accounts about where you were from, the same home of such greats as Robert Plant, Beverley Knight and Suzi Perry, perhaps move those eyes back down.
Ultimately Wolverhampton is where you’re from.
It’s where you might have been raised, where you went to school, made friends and where your family might still live.
Wolverhampton might not be your home now. You might not have ever been from Wolverhampton and adopted Wolves at a later stage, but it’s where your team is from.
The same one that has given you the highs of Bully hat-tricks against the Baggies. Elokobi on a hat trick against Man Utd. Bennett’s last minute winner v Bristol and the limbs of two last minute penalties away to Cardiff.
Wolves are on a trajectory to become bigger on the map, and along with it making the dot next to ‘Wolverhampton’ even more so.
So let’s help them along the way.
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