The National Football Museum opened its doors in July 2012 in the Urbis building Manchester City Centre.
You enter the museum through a turnstile as if entering a football ground and are greeted by a huge video screen showing the ‘Hall of Fame’; a continuous stream of great goals by famous English footballers of the past. Posters in the Hall of Fame and throughout the museum have quotations from footballers and managers; my favourite is by Sir Alex Ferguson.
The first floor begins the history of football in 1863 with the first meeting of the Football Association where the rules of the beautiful game were first drawn up. Displays from winning teams through the years and a plethora of shirts, emblems, footballs and trophies illustrate the excitement and passion of players and supporters alike.Football has also had its share of sad times, for example, space is given over to the Munich Air Disaster of 1958 when 20 Manchester United players and staff lost their lives; and to the Bradford Fire in 1985 when a dropped cigarette caused a wooden stand to catch fire resulting in the deaths of 56 fans.The second floor of the museum is a haven for the footballer within us all, young or old. There are hand-football games, such as Subbuteo; virtual reality games where two opponents can test their goal scoring skills; penalty shoot-out games, a room to can practice your ‘keep-ups’ and a whole host of interactive toys and games. Great fun and not just for kids!
The third floor hosted an amazing photographic exhibition called ‘Homes of Football’ by Stuart Roy Clarke where he has captured the spirit of Saturday afternoons at the match. I particularly liked the pictures of some of the women, below are details from ‘Neon Girls, Tranmere Rovers, 1992’ and ‘With a Gold Handbag, Manchester City, 2003’. There was also a section on ‘Fashion and Football’ with examples of clothing from Fred Perry, Bukta and Adidas. The Bukta picture below shows George Best in action in a Bukta shirt, now seen as a vintage brand.
Overall visiting the National Football Museum was most enjoyable and I will go again as I didn’t see everything on my first visit.
Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sundays 11am to 5pm.
Entry Fee: Free
Location: Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, M4 3BG.