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The article reviews the changing strategies of Manchester's Labour-controlled city council from 1987 and the emergence of “urban entrepreneurialism” as the hegemonic framework for local strategy. It is argued that the supply-side emphasis on “bricks and mortar” regeneration, flagship developments, and place-marketing depended on the emergence of both tacit and formal partnerships and the consolidation of an elite consensus. Such partnerships were substantially directed at securing discretionary grant funding in direct competition with other cities. The article goes on to analyse the reasons for the city's relative success in this competition, and the processes through which elite consensus was secured and consolidated.