National Football Museum

On Thursday, I visited the National* Football Museum in Manchester. There’s a lot of good stuff there, including replicas of famous trophies, information on World Cups and the opportunity to lift the Premier League trophy (replica) for a fiver.

For instance, one thing I didn’t know was that when English clubs were banned from Europe following Heysel, the FA organised a replacement competition called the “Full Members Cup”, actually known as the Zenith Data Systems Cup for sponsorship reasons, to make up the shortfall. It seems rather odd in those days to contrive an extra competition when there were 42 games in a league season (four more than today), the League Cup had replays, and the FA Cup didn’t have penalty shoot-outs- especially since players then weren’t as fit or under as strict regimes as now.

There’s also a note under the League Cup that says it “remains a valued route into Europe”. Not sure about that.

This piece of bizarre Man Utd fan art caught my eye:

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Gary Neville, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, and Phil Neville can be found at his feet, with Alex Ferguson in the seat above. Also included is Eric Cantona’s memorable quote, though the context is not given- he said it when he was at a press conference after his two-week jail sentence for kicking a Crystal Palace fan was reduced to Community Service. This is all he said and to this day no one is really quite sure what he meant.

As well as that, you can find some slightly un-PC World War 1 memorabila and, for some reason, the infamous Michael Jackson statue from Fulham’s ground.

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Anyway, it’s really good and well worth a visit. It’s free, but for a bit extra there are sections where you can practice your penalties and passing.

*The nation it mainly deals with is England (which is reasonable, since it is based in England), so if you are looking for memories of Irish League clubs in Europe, you will need to look elsewhere…

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