You can't compare cities with cities, every single one of them has their own identity and everyone of them has areas and places unique to that city.
I visited Sheffield city centre on Saturday afternoon and to be honest it was very lively. I got off the bus outside All Bar One at 4.30 and it was packed. Walked past Leopold Square and the same there. I carried on past the water fountains in the Peace Gardens and surprisingly it was busy there too.
Nobody seemed to be bothered by beggars and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
I carried on down to Browns for a drink but had to have it inside because all the tables were busy outside.
This doesn't seem like a city that is lacking any kind of nightlife or public squares that require big TV screens and as I said each city is unique
I went to Manchester last weekend on the train and we only walked 10 minutes to our hotel in Piccadilly Gardens. I saw more beggars in that 10 minutes than I did all night in Sheffield. I'm not saying Sheffield hasn't got a problem with beggars, but we aren't any better or worse than anywhere else.
I still enjoyed my weekend in Manchester but no better than my night out in Sheffield.
For what it's worth, I think Sheffield isn't quite as bad as some people seem to suggest it is. It's not perfect, but nowhere is.