England was the birthplace of the modern professional game of football, the world's most popular sport. The National Football Museum collects, preserves and interprets this unique heritage for the public benefit. The Museum has a long-term mission, a responsibility to both the present and future generations. Football is the people's game. The Museum has a key role to play in social inclusion, widening the audiences for museums and their services.

The National Football Museum holds the world's finest collections of historic football artefacts and archives, including the FIFA Museum Collection.

The National Football Museum opened to the public in February 2001. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) provided £9.3 million of the total initial funding of £15 million required to create the Museum.

Charitable Status
The National Football Museum is a registered charity, governed by a board of independent trustees. The Board comprises a chair and trustees drawn from the museums and heritage sector, football bodies, the business community and key stakeholders.

Football's Coming Home
There could be no more appropriate location for the Museum than Deepdale Stadium, the home of Preston North End FC, which is the oldest football league ground in the world. Preston has been playing at the same ground since 1878, longer than any other football league club. (The Museum is run entirely independently from the fotoball club.)

Why does The Museum exist?

The National Football Museum exists to explain how and why football has become ‘the people's game', a key part of England's heritage and way of life. It also aims to explain why England is the home of football, the birthplace of the world's most popular sport.

Who is The Museum for?

The Museum is for everyone, football fans and non-fans alike. People without a keen interest in football will enjoy finding out why so many people are so passionate about the game.

The Museum is for everyone, regardless of age, gender, disability, sexuality, religion or any other factor. The Museum seeks to explain the meaning of football in society: what deeper truths about us as human beings can the fascination for the game reveal?

How does The Museum achieve its goals?

The Museum seeks to achieve this by undertaking the following seven key aims:

Developing the finest and most significant collection of objects and associated evidence connected with the development of football around the world.

Protecting this important part of our cultural heritage for the benefit of all, both now and in the future.

Researching the collection to explain how and why football has become the most popular sport in the world.

Interpreting the collection in an entertaining and informative way, primarily through exhibitions, events and publications.

Providing a range of educational opportunities based on the collection, for learners of all ages and levels of attainment.

Satisfying customers with a level of visitor care which exceeds their expectations.

Managing our resources effectively and creatively, to be innovative and to continue to improve the services we offer.


The National football museum collection

The National Football Museum holds the world’s finest collection of football artefacts and archives. The collection is made up of the following main elements:

The FIFA Collection – the finest single collection of football memorabilia in the world. The collection includes a huge variety of historic items such as paintings, prints and woodcuts. Also part of this collection is early football equipment including balls, boots and other items of fans memorabilia including toys and games as well as ceramics and sculptures from around the world.

The Football Association Collection – historic items donated and loaned by the FA. These include a huge range of international gifts and pennants from around the world.

The Football League Collection – historic material on loan from the Football League. Handbooks, transfer lists, attendance records, programmes, a large range of books and a large range of trophies no longer used by the Football League.

The FIFA Book Collection – over 1,200 historic football books, dating back to 1867, part purchased for the museum by FIFA.

The FIFA World Cup collection – historic items relating to the World Cup, owned by FIFA. Memorabilia and photographs of each tournament, including mascots, medals, footballs, programmes, guides to tournaments, first day covers,

The Preston North End FC Collection – one of the best collections relating to a single club in the country. One of the most complete individual club collections in the world. The collection includes photographs, programmes, gate books, minutes,

The Harry Langton Collection – further material from the collector who assembled the FIFA Collection, purchased with the assistance of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Sir Stanley Matthews Collection – items relating to the career of one of the greatest English players of all time. The collection includes correspondence, ephemera, playing kit, items relating to the retirement of Matthews. Purchased with the assistance of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Littlewoods Collection – items relating to the history of the leading football pools company, who have played a major role in the development of the game. An excellent and rich archive of social history showing winners photographs, celebrities from the world of sport, film and television, Littlewoods ephemera, advertising leaflets and correspondence.

The People’s Collection –an amazingly rich and diverse collection of objects and ephemera donated to the museum by members of the public. Magazines, player contracts, caps, badges, programmes, clothing, trophies, photographs, albums, toys and games, merchandising, fans campaigns groups, fanzines, cigarette cards, floodlight bulbs, autograph books, song sheets, scarfs, tickets, mascots, models, pennants.

To find objects of the national football museum visit:


                           To visit the museum site:




Museum staff at the Preston-based National Football Museum have acted swiftly to deny the institution is in need of emergency funding. Although it was reported last week in the national media that a local MP had appealed to the Government for a rescue package to keep it open, a spokesman for the museum has said there is no danger of it closing.

The museum's Mark Bushell explained the Preston MP raised the issue that, while the majority of the UK's national museums are able to offer free entry due to direct revenue funding, the National Football Museum receives no funding and cannot therefore offer free entry.

"We were quite happy for him to do that because if there is a chance of us getting revenue funding it would be stupid for us not to ask for it," explained Mark Bushell.

"We would like to think a museum of our significance with a collection of national and international significance would be considered for direct funding. We are a national football museum, one of 19 national museums 18 of which get funding from the Government."

With no direct funding from central Government, the museum relies on commercial ventures, sponsorship and visitor entrance fees for its revenue.

The museum's first year audit has yet to record a definite visitor number to date, though early forecasts have put the number at 40,000. While this figure does not compare favourably with other national institutions Mark pointed out that, having to charge for entry, it is an unfair comparison.

"We constantly get asked by visitors, 'why do we have to pay, we thought you were a national museum?' 40,000 in the first year is terrific with not a large amount of money for marketing. From a standing start that is an absolutely terrific achievement and it will grow in time."

So far the museum has organised a number of successful exhibitions at home and abroad and earlier this month inducted 23 football players and 6 managers, including Bobby Moore and Sir Alex Ferguson into its new Hall of Fame.

The museum houses arguably the world's finest collection of historic football artefacts and forms part of the Deepdale stadium, home to Preston North End - the English football league's first champions.


Building Information

The museum opened to the public in February 2001 (officially opened by the Duke of Kent on 20th June 2001). It presently occupies space in two of the stands of the newly refurbished Deepdale Stadium in Preston, home of Preston North End FC. The early concept for the museum in Preston began to develop in 1994 when Baxi (a heating firm with local connections established in the 1860s) acquired Preston North End FC and began the redevelopment of Deepdale Stadium. Originally, there were plans to incorporate a museum dedicated to the local club, although the significance of both the club and the region as a whole in the history of the game led to more ambitious plans to establish a museum of English football. The North West was a natural location - the game has its roots are in the Lancashire mill towns. Preston North End was one of the 12 founding members of the Football League and has been playing at the same ground longer than any other English club, with matches dating from 1878. It has the added accolade of being the first winner of the world's oldest professional football league in 1888-89.

Collections Overview

The museum's aim is to develop the 'finest and most significant collection of objects and associated evidence connected with the development of football around the world.' English football and England's role in the development of football throughout the world are the particular focuses of collecting. The museum holds a substantial collection of objects representing the history of English Association Football in a worldwide context. The core collection is formed around the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) Collection, considered the finest and most significant collection of football history worldwide in the public domain.

Display Overview

The permanent displays are designed so that they can be altered and updated at the beginning of each new football season and are divided into two main parts. 'The First Half' introduces the history of the game and presents a chronological development through links with major social history events of each decade over the last 150 years. 'The Second Half' on the upper floor is a themed, hands-on exhibition area based primarily on interactives and IT. There is an adjacent art gallery, which includes works commissioned by the museum. Additionally, the Special Exhibitions Gallery is used to present changing temporary exhibitions featuring different aspects of football. Future displays will focus on the world Cup 2002, 140th Anniversary of the FA in 2003 and the centenary of FIFA in 2004.

Star Objects

The FIFA Museum Collection; Replica of the FA Cup; crossbar from the 1966 World Cup game; 'Discorso Sopra Il Giuoco Del Calcio' published in 1580 in Florence and considered the world's oldest book on football; jersey and cap from the world's first official international football match in 1872; international caps and other items relating to both Sir Stanley Matthews and Sir Tom Finney; an 1889 FA Cup Final Winner's Medal; a Preston North end gatebook of 1884, Footbal League Championship trophies and shields; Wembley stadium foundation stone and original 1923 seating and turnstile.

 FIFA Collection

The FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) Museum Collection is considered the finest and most significant collection of football history worldwide in the public domain and forms the core part of the museum's collection. It was developed by Harry Langton and contains over 2,000 items including pictures, books, printed ephemera, toys and games, ceramics, playing equipment and metalwork such as sculptures. The collection is particularly representative of the period from 1880-1918 but covers the brood history of football evolution from the ball games of early civilisations around the world to the development of the modern game. The material is worldwide in origin but around 85% relates to English football. Key items include historic literature such as 'Memorie del Calcio Fiorentino (1688), toys and games including one made in Preston in 1884 and considered the worlds' oldest example. Other FIFA-owned material currently at the museum includes another 2,000 items ranging from famous trophies to souvenirs and a collection of 1,5000 books dating from 1839 to 1995. The Harry Langton Collection comprises 2,000 objects relating to the general development and history of football and is of the same quality and importance as the FIFA collection. The museum is essentially based around the collections of this collector, who developed a significant collection of football memorabilia, amassing the more unusual objects such as ceramics, toys, equipment and fine art, in addition to caps, medals, photographs, playing kit and ephemera. The collection came to international recognition in 1990 when Rome hosted an exhibition as part of the World Cup. A further exhibition in the USA in 1994 brought the collection to the attention of FIFA, the world football organisation that acquired part of the collection (the key collection now held by the museum). Harry Langton continued to acquire further material for his own collection and this was eventually purchased by the museum. Key items include 'Discorso Sopra Il Giuoco Del Calcio' published in 1580 in Florence and considered the world's oldest book on football, Arnold Kirke Smith's jersey and cap from the world's first official international football match in 1872 (England v Scotland) and several historically important fine art works. The People's Collection comprises over 4,000 miscellaneous items acquired through individual donations, loans and contemporary collecting. The collection relates to all aspects of the game and is well representative of the 1940-1980 period, but includes objects dating throughout the 20th century and up to the present day. Material includes playing kit and equipment, formal dress, supports' effects, medals, trophies, pennants, international caps and gifts, archival material, books, booklets and brochures, scrapbooks, newspapers, magazines, photographs, programmes, trade items, other printed ephemera, toys and games, video and audio recordings and other commemorative items. The museum also recently purchased 67 items comprising the Sir Stanley Matthews Collection. Key items in the collection include international caps and other items relating to both Sir Stanley Matthews and Sir Tom Finney and an 1889 FA Cup Final Winner's Medal. The Preston North End Football Club Collection contains over 2,000 donated items of archive and memorabilia related to various clubs, football in general but most specifically to the Preston club, one of the earliest and most historically significant professional football clubs in the world and the first winners of the football league. Items include club awards and commemorative gifts including trophies, medals and pennants, assorted archive material such as minute books, photographs, stadium fixtures such as seating and signage, artwork including paintings and stained glass, books, newspapers, magazines, programmes, tickets and other printed ephemera and video and audio recordings. Key items include an 1884 gatebook, framed lithograph of the 1888/9 Preston North End Team and Football League and FA archive material from the early 20th century. The Football Association Collection provides a valuable record of the history of the world's oldest football association and its key activities and responsibilities such as the England national team and FA Cup competition. The museum owns over 300 items and holds a further 2,000 items on loan, comprising international gifts, original artwork (paintings and sculptures), photographs, archives and commemorative awards relating to international matches and events. Key item include a bronze figure of a goalkeeper - a centenary gift of presented to the FA by UEFA in 1963, photographs of the 1923 'White Horse' FA Cup, minute books of 1903-1975, 1881 presentation scroll to Charles Alcock (a founder of the FA) for 18 years of service, gifts sent from many countries to congratulate the FA on the 1996 World Cup victory, a lithographic print, 'Snow at Stamford Bridge' from the 1953 exhibition organised by the FA and Arts Council. The Football League Collection is a major loan comprising over 1,500 items ranging from trophies to photographs, books, archives and other objects. The collection is an important record of the oldest football league in the world and covers the history of the competition, match records and other related subjects. Key items include Championship trophies and shields and player appearance records for Football League matches. The Wembley Stadium Collection is a large and varied loan collection of over 1,000 items representing the 77-year history of the Empire Stadium, Wembley. Objects include trophies, stadium fixtures, promotional and commemorative items, artwork, photographs, glass negatives, books, programmes and various printed ephemera. The collection also features material relating to the role of the stadium for other sporting and music events. Key items include the crossbar from the 1996 World Cup final, a replica of the Jules Rimmet trophy, original 1923 seating and turnstile from the grounds and the stadium foundation stone



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