Tuesday, 15 April 2014

National Football Museum

During a recent trip to Manchester, I took the opportunity to visit the National Football Museum, situated in the centre of the city.
I did not honestly know what to expect, but overall I would give the experience a qualified thumbs up. I had no real idea what to expect, and I am traditionally wary of museums of this nature, as they tend to be predictable and/or perfunctory. In all honesty, my first few minutes in the museum were a touch underwhelming, as it all seemed a little low-key. It is only when one climbs the stairs to the upper levels that things really come alive.
The challenge for museums like this one is to strike a balance, and to cater for all ages and levels of interest, without becoming either superficial or excessively high-brow. In this respect, I think that the people in Manchester have pitched things just about correctly. There is interactive stuff aplenty to keeps the kids interested, but also enough to draw in the footballing "anorak".
I was impressed and surprised by the variety and quality of the memorabilia and other material on display, from trophies and old footballs to programmes and shirts, and even football-orientated artworks. Football at all levels, and in all its shades, is covered, and there is commendable emphasis on the grassroots. the lower leagues and the formative years of the professional game. There is much stress, consciously or otherwise, on how much the game has changed over the decades, but one is also reminded that essentially many things about football have hardly changed at all, particularly the passion of the spectators and the enduring tactical fascination.

As someone who has lately become rather jaded with the game, this visit re-ignited my interest in the vibrancy of football culture. If one moderates one's expectations, a visit to the National Football Museum is very worthwhile for anyone passing through Manchester, with a little time to spare.

No comments:

Post a Comment