Only a Game? – a cultural, fun and educational UEFA exhibition that draws a parallel between the history of European football and that of the European Union – is heading to the United Kingdom. The exhibition will be based at the World Museum in Liverpool from this October until February 2009.
It features a set of giant table-football figures and an interactive sphere which uses teams competing in the Champions League as locations for a hi-tech geography lesson. Memorabilia on show includes shirts, medals and trophies of great European players such as former Reds captain Phil Neal, and items from the official Everton FC Collection and Liverpool FC’s museum.
Bolstered by its success in Brussels, the Only a Game? exposition will soon be crossing the Channel to spend the winter on Merseyside. Liverpool was anything but a random choice: not only does the city in north-west England have an inherent passion for football, being the proud home to Everton FC and Liverpool FC, two clubs of mythical proportions; but Liverpool is also a 2008 European Capital of Culture.
Olivier Guilbaud, the man behind the exhibition, said: "It's great to be able to take Only a Game? to Liverpool because it is a city whose passion for football remains second to none in Europe. Thanks to its location, the World Museum should enable people from all over the region and beyond to visit the exhibition." The World Museum, one of Liverpool's national museums, will host Only a Game? for four months. The museum, located in the heart of the city, was created in 1853 and enjoys international renown.
Europe through football
The aim of the exhibition is to invite the public to (re)discover and contemplate Europe through football. To this end, the recipe for success which proved itself in Brussels will be applied in Liverpool. Only a Game? will bring together a wide range of objects and images, characteristics of the city's attachment to local and European football, and various high-tech elements, with a view to making it as fun and interactive as possible.
A spokesman for the organisation said the city was chosen for its inherent passion for football, because it is home to Everton and Liverpool, and to mark Capital of Culture. It has yet to be confirmed who will open the exhibition, which is timed to coincide with the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame dinner at the ECHO Arena on October 8.
John Millard, executive director of collections management at National Museums Liverpool, said: "Liverpool is the perfect place to host this fantastic Uefa exhibition. The success of Merseyside's football clubs means the city's passion for football is known the world over. The exhibition features rare objects from legendary matches, top European trophies and memorabilia from star players, which will draw people from the north west and the UK to explore Europe through football."
Current Reds captain Steven Gerrard said: "There is no city in Europe where football means more than it does to the people of Liverpool. I think it is great that we are having a European football exhibition as part of 2008."
Highlights of Only A Game? include:
* Memorabilia from the National Football Museum, including shirts, medals and trophies of European greats such as Phil Neal, George Best, Ferenc Puskas, Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore, Stanley Matthews and Petr Cech.
* A display of Uefa trophies, including the Champions League trophy and Uefa Cup
* Giant football figures telling the evocative personal stories of players including Liverpool legend Kevin Keegan, Bert Trautmann and Johann Cruyff.
* Items from the Everton Collection and the Liverpool FC museum.