THE recent exploits of City and United have seen Manchester labelled the UK’s capital of football. Most Mancunian sport fans live and breathe football, and ‘the beautiful game’ is the main talking point in pubs and taxis across the city.

However, it’s not just the Premier League powerhouses that get Mancunian chins wagging, for there is much more to the Manchester football scene than The Blues and The Reds. The Greater Manchester region also boasts five Football League teams and over a dozen prominent non-league clubs.

I’ve covered them all during over a decade working as a freelance sports reporter and wanted to start a blog which gave more attention to the clubs and characters that make so many of us love football ‘beyond the big two’.

So, thanks for visiting my blog, Beyond the Big Two. Launched ahead of the 2016/17 season, it’s a work in progress, but I intend to keep highlighting the big stories and quirky tales in Manchester football outside of City and United, be it Salford City’s rapid rise or Altrincham’s bid to bounce back after slipping into the Evo-Stik League.

Meanwhile, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Wigan are battling to move up the pecking order in the EFL, where Macclesfield Town and Stockport County hope to return.

Of course I won’t spot everything, especially what’s going on further down the non-league ladder, so I’m happy to hear from you if you have a story to tell or want to write about your club. I also welcome any feedback, even if it’s to tell me I’ve got my facts wrong!

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the blog.

Regards, Ben Collins