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the leeds 2023 conversation: billy sharp & danny mcguire, leeds united & rhinos

the leeds 2023 conversation: billy sharp & danny mcguire, leeds united & rhinos


A recurring theme of the Leeds 2023 conversations we’ve been hosting on The City Talking has been that Leeds does not have one, single, definitive ‘culture.’

To some people culture means art, to others it means music, to others it means opera or theatre or dance. And to a lot of people in Leeds, it means sport.

Billy Sharp, Leeds United • by Shang-Ting Peng

Sport might not immediately spring to mind when you think of a bid to become European Capital of Culture, but as a shared activity, watching and playing sport brings thousands of people of all ages together across the city every day, either to watch their heroes in stadiums like Elland Road or Headingley Carnegie, or to imitate them on playing fields and parks.

Danny McGuire, Leeds Rhinos • by Shang-Ting Peng

That’s why we took the chance for a quick word with Billy Sharp of Leeds United and Danny McGuire of Leeds Rhinos about the role sport could play if Leeds becomes a Capital of Culture.

Although Billy and Danny weren’t expecting to be asked about civic culture when we spoke to them – as you might be able to tell at the start of the video – what they both had to say rang true: that involving the followers of Leeds sport in a bid for Capital of Culture could give it a big boost of support and make it a source of pride for the city.

We already asked for views on Leeds 2023 from two other Leeds sport stars, European Featherweight champion boxer Josh Warrington, and captain of Leeds Ladies FC, Emma Bentley. Josh spoke about how the sometimes underrated achievements of local sport talents like the Brownlee brothers and Nicola Adams contribute, alongside the city’s universities and music scene, to a city on the up; while Emma was definite about the role sport should play in Leeds 2023:

“Our culture is sport, as well as music, as well as art, as well as everything else. It’s very important to us, and I think we should stay true to ourself and include that within.”

What do you think? When you think of Leeds culture, do you think of sport? Is it important to consider sport when bidding to become European Capital of Culture? How can make sport part of it, and get sport fans involved?

Let us know what you think on Twitter using the hashtag #Leeds2023, or in the comments section below.

Billy Sharp, Leeds United; Emma Bentley, Leeds Ladies FC; Josh Warrington; Danny McGuire, Leeds Rhinos • by Shang-Ting Peng