In the world’s first virtual sports museum, “The Priory Collection” you can see some of the most important and historical pieces of memorabilia from the 6500 items in the collection which is essentially devoted to football, cricket, rugby and the Olympics.
The football collection contains objects varying from an oil painting dated 1830, thought to be one of the oldest paintings of its kind to the Stanley Matthews kit worn in the 1953 FA Cup Final. Known as the Matthews’ Final; it was incidently the first time Queen Elizabeth had ever attended a football match.
The first World Cup Final between Argentina and Uruguay which was controversial because the teams couldn’t agree on which ball to play with, so it was decided that they play each with their own ball for one half. The online museum shows the Uruguayan ball played in the second half where they went on to win 4-2. The Bobby Moore shirt which he so famously swapped with Pele after the 1970 World Cup group match in Mexico.....plus many more items.
Saracens Chairman Nigel Wray has long been an avid collector of sporting art and memorabilia and has recently fulfilled a dream to showcase his collection for all to see by launching a new Virtual Museum – an absolute must for any sports fan.
“I’ve been looking for several years to build a museum to host the collection but the cost of such a project is too prohibitive,” explained Wray. “But the online museum gives us the opportunity to showcase some of the collection and there are no issues surrounding security when you view the pieces from the comfort of your own sofa - so you can really zoom in on the pieces and view them in detail in a way you never could in a normal museum.
“It’s a very exciting project and currently we only have a small percentage of the collection on show but all are fascinating pieces and all have great stories to them which I think is very important. We don’t just have a bat that was used by Ian Botham, it was THE bat he used in his most famous innings in the 1981 Ashes.
“As it becomes more successful, the idea is to add more pieces and even have specific themes around the time of big sporting events such as a football collection during a World Cup or a cricket collection for next summer’s Ashes. The Olympics is another theme and one piece which sticks in the mind is from the 1936 Berlin games – it’s an autograph book and on one page it is signed by Jesse Owens and on the other by Joseph Goebbels! It’s fascinating.”