Thanks to Manchester City Council and European funding, the museum now has the opportunity to become a national and international visitor destination, taking over the whole of the city’s landmark Urbis building. The new museum will provide a world-class home for the greatest collection of football memorabilia ever assembled and is set to become one of the biggest visitor attractions in the UK.
The museum will be arranged over three floors within the building, with the atrium space dedicated to the museum’s Hall of Fame. It will become the new home for the UEFA European Cup Winner’s Cup, and will feature prized exhibits from the museum’s collection of more than 140,000 objects, works of art and photographs as well as some incredible ‘interactive’ exhibits.
Highlights inside the museum include a unique ‘Peppar’s Ghost’ video illusion exhibit featuring famous footballing personalities including Gary Lineker and England World Cup Winning legend Sir Geoff Hurst – a chance to come face-to-face with legends of the game. Exhibit highlights from this unique collection include a shirt from the world's first international match played in 1872, the 1966 World Cup Final ball and the shirt worn by Maradona during the infamous 1986 ‘Hand of God’ quarter final match between England and Argentina.
The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was the first European Trophy won by a British team (Tottenham Hotspur in 1963) and was a prestigious club competition contested annually by winners of all European domestic cup competitions. After running for over 35 years, the final tournament was held in the 1998-99 season, after which it was absorbed by the UEFA Cup.
As well as three floors of objects, there will be ‘hands on’ Football Plus interactives for visitors to have a go and take part in aspects of the game, and a changing temporary exhibition programme tackling other aspects of the rich culture surrounding the game. It will become the new home for photographer Stuart Clarke’s ‘Homes of Football’ collection of images.
The museum will also provide a host of commercial opportunities, from event partnerships to exclusive branding spaces, on and offline. The museum will offer event spaces for a range of venue requirements, and play host to a distinctive retail, cafe and restaurant offer that will compete with Manchester’s best.
National Football Museum Director Kevin Moore said: “We are delighted to announce the date for opening the new National Football Museum. We’re proud to be opening an international visitor attraction in the heart of this footballing city, and particularly welcome the arrival of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
“It’s a hugely impressive trophy and is very much part of the history of European football competition. Some of the greatest names in modern football have competed for the trophy over the years and we’d very much like to thank UEFA for allowing us to display it. Our new museum will provide visitors with a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the most impressive collection of football exhibits ever assembled.”
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure for Manchester City Council, said: "The National Football Museum has been eagerly awaited and there's a mounting sense of anticipation now the opening date is just around the corner. It promises to be a nationally and internationally significant attraction - combining a world-class collection of memorabilia with an innovative, interactive take on the history and culture of the sport.
"Manchester is already the most visited English city outside London. The National Football Museum will add to our existing range of visitor attractions and further strengthen the city as a destination of choice. Mention Manchester to anyone around the world and one of the first things they will think of is football, so it's the perfect location for a must-see shrine to the global game. Whichever team you support, and even if you only have a passing interest in football, the museum is sure to be a winning attraction."
Paul Simpson, managing director of Visit Manchester said: “We are thrilled with the announcement that the National Football Museum will open its doors in July 2012 during an important year of sport for the UK. Football is very much a part of Manchester’s DNA and a key driver for tourism. The game brings thousands of visitors to the city each year and we are confident that having the National Football Museum here in Manchester will be a big draw for football fans visiting the city.
“This world-class cultural attraction will be a welcome addition for the city’s excellent tourism industry which currently generates £5.8bn for the local economy and supports 77,000 full time equivalent jobs across the region. We wish the museum every success.”
The National Football Museum was established and its collection acquired thanks to £9.3m investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The National Football Museum is a registered charity overseen by a board of trustees, and also counts notable names amongst its honorary positions, including Museum President Sir Bobby Charlton, Museum Vice Presidents Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Tom Finney, Sir Trevor Brooking and Sir Geoff Hurst, plus Museum Special Ambassador Mark Lawrenson.
The National Football Museum in Manchester replaces the National Football Museum in Preston which ran from early 2001 to April 2010.
The museum will also provide a permanent home for its nationally-recognised Hall of Fame, with new legends being inducted in a prestigious awards ceremony every year.
The museum is expected to attract over 350,000 visitors per year.
Entrance will be free, and to enhance the Museum experience, it will include some additional exclusive paid-for interactive exhibitions to help to ensure that visitors enjoy one of the best days out in the city.
Monday-Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm
Open every day excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday.
The venue is fully accessible for wheelchair access.