More Than 90 Minutes - A Football Museum Trail

By Culture24 Staff | 24 June 2002
A photo of people walking down a path to a football stadium

In between fretting about England in the 2010 World Cup and wondering whether to renew your season ticket, check out Culture24's guide to some of the best football museums and archives in the UK...

In the North West of England the is on the move. Formerly residing within Preston North End's Deepdale Stadium, it is now on its way to Urbis in Manchester, which will be renamed and transformed into the new National Football Museum, which is due to open in autumn 2011.

When that happens, the NFM will have a new home for more than 20,000 objects and artefacts, taking in everything from the iconic "they think it's all over..." 1966 World Cup Final ball to Jurgen Klinsmann's Spurs shirt alongside images, photographs, film footage and paintings.

A photo of a tall glass museum on a grass lawn at night

The National Football Museum will move to Urbis in Manchester in 2011

While we wait to see what the new museum does with this sparkling collection, it is still worth visiting the website of the Football Museum.

Online visitors will find links and information to the Football Hall of Fame as well as a Tom Finney website that traces the story of a football star of yesteryear.

It will also house elements of in Cumbria, Stuart Clarke's archive of 60,000 photographs recording the changes English football has undergone in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy, when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death during an FA Cup semi-final.

A photo of a stone statue of a footballer outside a stadium

Wembley Stadium's statue of Bobby Moore

North of the border, in a country synonymous with the beautiful game, football fans will find the Scottish Football Museum, in rude health and open for business within the national Hampden Park stadium.

Exhibits trace the history of football from the viewpoint of a nation which played an essential part in the game's development. Through interactive displays the museum looks at the social development of football, from its move into professionalism to its growth into a multi-million pound industry, examining the one thing that has never changed – the relationship between a fan and their team.

The museum contains artefacts from the history of the Scottish national team, including a ticket to the first ever international match against the "Auld Enemy" and shirts worn by legends including Denis Law and Kenny Dalglish.

These dramatic changes have seen English football grounds and attitudes completely overhauled.

The exhibition is open every day and there is even a Subbuteo table and some football related computer games to keep everyone amused.

A photo of the darkened inside of a museum showing football artefacts

The Scottish Football Museum

Liverpool is a city where fans of all ages will find a great tradition and feeling for football. Housed by the Anfield Stadium, The Liverpool FC Museum takes a tour through the history of the red side of Merseyside.

Liverpool made English football history when they won their fourth European Cup in 1984, and four full-size trophies can be seen in the museum as well as the spoils of recent successes including their Champions League triumph under recently-departed manager Rafa Benitez.

A complete recreation of the legendary Bill Shankly's Liverpool dressing room circa 1965 shows a team on the verge of great things, while the on-site cinema shows what it takes to run a top football club from day to day and highlights of the team's achievements.

The stadium tour takes you behind the scenes and the Penalty Lounge will sort the Fowlers from the Southgates, but don't forget to pay your respects at the Hillsborough Memorial in honour of the 96 fans of Liverpool who died in the 1989 tragedy.

A photo of a statue of a football manager outside a stadium

Liverpool FC's proud history. Image:

Moving into another city that knows a thing or two about football, Manchester's Old Trafford Stadium not only gives Manchester United somewhere to play, but houses the Manchester United Museum.

Opened in 1998 by the legendary Pele, the museum traces the club's history from 1878 to the present day while the interactive Man-U-Net has information about every first team player to take the field for the team.

A virtual reality tour of the stadium goes behind the scenes, and armchair commentators can see if they can do it better in a match commentary feature. Visitors can gasp in awe or be sick in the (packed) trophy room. Then the tour takes in displays about kit and equipment, fans and the tragic Munich Air Disaster.

A photo of trophies and artefacts inside a football museum

The Manchester United Museum. Image:

The wealthiest kids on the block, Manchester City, have got a new City Museum to go with their phenomenal City of Manchester Stadium.

Turbulence weaves through every aspect of City's history, so the City Experience is quite a tour, including a replica of the FA Cup, sculptures of legendary goalkeeper Bert Trautmann and the deadly Colin Bell and a wide range of medals and shirts.

A photo of a cup final programme and old football

Cup final memories inside Manchester City's Museum. Image: Richard Tucker,

City's backers come from a lineage of lucrative owners started by Roman Abrahmovich, the Chelsea owner who is one of the stars of the Chelsea FC Museum at the club's Stamford Bridge home.

From the inception of the club in 1905 to 22-stone goalkeepers, enough characters to temporarily put Jose Mourinho in the shade and incredible goals from the likes of Gianfranco Zola, it's as attractive to lovers of fine football as it is to diehard Chelsea supporters.

A photo of the inside of a football museum showing pictures of players

The revolution begins at the Chelsea FC Museum. Image:

Down in London the Football Association Library, with its collection of 2,000 football publications, will satisfy the most inquisitive football minds.

Older fans can reminisce with FA records that go back to when Bobby Charlton had hair, while younger followers of football can learn about the history of the game from the lofty heights of the World Cup to the grass roots non-league.

The Arsenal Football Club Museum reopened at the club's beautiful Emirates Stadium in 2006, and features the largest collection of any single club's memorabilia.

A photo of the inside of a football museum showing montages of players next to shirts and trophies

Arsenal's museum has a glorious new home at the Emirates Stadium

Tracing 115 years of Gunners history, from the club's origins as Woolwich Arsenal through the Herbert Chapman years to the double successes of 1971 and 1998, the museum also displays artefacts and items worn by Arsenal's biggest stars.

Gunners legend Bob Wilson narrates a cinematic tribute to the club, while the actual bus used to carry victorious teams through London is here for all to see.

Some interesting links...

The Football Association online

The official web site of the English Football Association contains everything an English football fan would need to know about the domestic game, from information on the England team right down to the Non-League game.

There is background to the formation of the world's first football governing body and a history of the game in general as well as a list of links to the world of English football.

FIFA online

The official website of the game's governing body provides up-to-date news, a guide to the updated laws of the game, a comprehensive history of the game and links to every national association in existence. It is a huge site, bursting with football information, including a great history section.


The official web site of European football's governing body carries news of all the top competitions and the issues that matter.

There are great features including the Training Ground, offering advice on nurturing young talent, people management in the age of the millionaire footballer and learning to be a referee.

There is also Trick of the Week, offering a guide to some of the most audacious skills ever seen – remember Paul Gascoigne against Scotland at the European Championship in 1996?

The Football League

The official web site of the Football League where all of the latest stats and facts are held on the world's oldest football league set-up.


Any aspiring Motty's dream? The Association of Football Statisticians has produced invaluable work researching and recording an extraordinary amount of statistics on football past and present.

An extremely well laid-out site with easily accessible information and a thoroughly comprehensive database of all the clubs in Great Britain, this is a must for any serious football fan who thinks they know their stuff.

The Football Ground Guide

A pictorial guide to the country's football grounds, this site provides comprehensive information on what they look like, how to get there, what songs to sing and what you can eat.

There is a guide to grounds and stands long gone such as the Clock End at Highbury and the Goldstone Ground in Brighton, as well as a tribute to all those who have done the 92 (visited all of the grounds in the English League).

An absolutely huge statistics archive containing information about football games and competitions you had no idea existed – every scorer, attendance figure, ground and result is here. Fascinating, great for settling arguments and invaluable for research.

Supporters Direct

Supporters Direct is a government-backed initiative that aims to help football supporters play a responsible part in the life of the clubs they support. This website has lots of information and links for supporters considering setting up a Supporters' Trust.

Football Poets

An archive of the most unlikely relationship known to humankind. Ever since the first ball was kicked deep-rooted feelings have followed and this site explores the expression of the emotions that make or break our Saturday nights.

Famous names such as Brighton and Hove Albion resident poet Atilla the Stockbroker are included, but budding bards can submit their own poetry as well as organise workshops for the young and in schools.

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