As a temporary resident of a Middle England shire - south of Birmingham - who can't wait to return to Manchester; I can tell you that people are extraordinarily ignorant of what Manchester/Greater Manchester (and the north of England ) actually "is"!
They assume everyone's crawling around the floor glue sniffing, drug taking etc etc and all the ignorant stereotypes that go with a major city and it's urban area; it's actually quite astounding. Apparently, the Manchester area is best avoided and is backwards! - they missed the fact that it is the fastest growing major city and is more or less now seen as the UK;s second city - even some of my Brummy accquaintances agree; which is quite brave of them to admit.
All the hoo-hah is based on ingrained regional prejudice and the fact that people can't get away from images they've had programmed into them over the years which are largely outdated; like to a lesser extent with Glasgow which has dramatically changed.
Even Liverpool and Birmingham have made a good start at reversing the past and catching up.