Sports Museums in England: Football Museums

by Mr. Varun Arora

An article is included to HeritageForAll Global Collaborations Program.

An article is a project report that was submitted, in partial fulfillment of the requirement of the degree of M.A. (Fine) Museology, by Mr. Varun Arora ( and reviewed by Dr. R.V. Ramana.

Department of Museology, the Faculty of Fine Arts, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (November 2016).


Sports have always been very popular in England. Many sports have originated in England like cricket, football, badminton, tennis etc. It is helping the country from an economic point of view also, football especially is the most popular sports in the world. Millions of people are fans of this sport so, it is obvious that England, where a football originally was started as a sport, has football museums that are common worldwide.

Some of the world’s best and most successful clubs are founded in England like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool, there is also a National Football Museum in Manchester and The Homes of Football Museum in London. All of these museums have exhibits comprising of football jerseys the various trophies won by the football club, and they give a stadium tour to the football fans, so that they can get real life experience of what it is like to play for the football club and as a football fan.

One can visit the dugout, the directors box, the players tunnel, the dressing room of the player. One can take a photo with the trophies won by the club. One can also be guided by some of the legends of the game and legends of their favourite football club. The visitors can ask them any questions they want during their visit to the museum and also, the stadium tour. They can share their experiences from their playing days. The visitors can also arrange the birthday parties of their children in the football museums and also their weddings they can get special menu in the sports Cafe on match days.

This project will focus on the sports museum, its purpose and features, as a source of revenue generation in England, and also the European countries by the means of sponsorship from various Sporting companies, advertisements, corporate membership donations from professional sports associations the fan club …. etc. In comparison with the Indian sports museum, a project will analyse the situation of the Indian sports museums that is it as helpful as the English sports museums in representing the history of sports in India and providing a platform for the Indian Sport athletes to perform at International level like the Olympics, or the Asian games, Paralympic Games … etc?!

Aims and Objective of the Project

  1. To know the purpose of sports museum;
  2. To understand the features of sports museum;
  3. To study sports museum as a source of revenue generation;
  4. To know what is Collection of sports museum;
  5. To study important sports museum of England;
  6. To understand the educational activities of sports museum;
  7. To know the Cultural relevance of sports museum;
  8. To compare sports Museum in England with Indian Sports Museums.

Purpose of Sports Museum

Founding the sports museum aims at displaying the history of sports and also the sporting heritage in a country like England or any other European country. Where the sports are very popular although the sports museums are not a new phenomenon. They as old as mid-19th century when in 1856. The MCC Museum was established at Lord’s which is the oldest sports museum of the world and one of the best sports museums of the world. The Lancashire Cricket County Club Museum was established in 1864 at Old Trafford in Manchester. They also have a sporting history and culture because, it has also the National Football Museum and the iconic Manchester United museum which is one of the most successful football clubs in the world. There is also the Homes of Football Museum in London and the Royal Tennis Court Wimbledon Museum in London.

The former cases show that countries, like England or any other European country, found out the significance of founding the sports museum, the sports compile people together as a community and they also have the various sports-based educational activities. They are also a huge source of generating revenue, by the means of sponsorship they get and also they get funding from Professional Sports Associations such as the Football Players Association, the English Football Association and also, they get funding from the owners of the football club, and because of the popularity of sports, the museums get funding from the people. Their main purpose is also to present the sporting memories of a particular sporting event and to show the collection of various sporting items, like the Horse Racing Museum where is situated in the New Market town, Suffolk. It showcases the various jerseys of Jockeys who won the Royal Derby Horse Race in Dubai and other important global horse races. In addition, it has various breeds of horses that are used in the horse racing. Another one is the National Cycling Museum in Wales. It displays various models of cycles from the 18th century onwards and the history major cycling tournament such as the Tour de France and the Olympic Cycling race medals that are funded by the British Sporting art trust. The former trust is a sporting organisation that regulates all the activities in England related to sports. These museums are also established to acknowledge the contribution of various sporting athletes and to encourage them to perform even better by inducting their name in the Hall of Fame of various sports museums.

Features of Sports Museums

  • The admission fee is free that sports museums get a funding by Professional Sporting Organisation committees
  • Football museums are concerned. They get directly a funding by the Football Clubs’ owners who are usually billionaire. Also, they get a funding by the official fan club or even from sponsorship from various Sporting items manufacturing companies such as Adidas, Nike, Reebok … etc.
  • A museum tour: most of these museums are located inside sports stadium. So, the visitors can get a tour at the museum and also, the stadium. Most of these museums have the Hall of Fame where to celebrate various sports athletes’ achievements apart from the usual collection and special exhibition of sporting objects or items data on display.

Sports Museum as a Source of Generating Revenues

A museum is a non-profit permanent institution where to consider the popularity of sports museums especially in England and other European countries, or USA. They have generated a lot of funds through, promoting their display and conducting special exhibition, and also by various sport organisations and committees like the British Sporting Art Trust and also the Players Football Association, the English Cricketing Board … etc. They get money generating a resources of sponsorship and corporate funding membership from various sporting companies which manufacture the sporting or the sports goods.

Another source of funding is the stadium tour package that one visits the sports museum in England or any other European country where to have a sporting heritage and culture. The visitors can organize their birthday parties inside an iconic football stadium like Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge or Anfield stadium; and to arrange their wedding at the theater of Dreams, at the Old Trafford stadium and also at the home of the red devils where are located one of the most iconic and successful teams in European football club. Moreover, the cafeteria is a source of funding. The visitors can get their own menu for any age group, they can also order the players lunch or dinner imagine, they are eating what the Liverpool or Chelsea team just ate on a match day. The visitors can also take a photo with the trophies of various Sport. The museum shop is also one way to generate revenue. They can buy sports kits and have their own name printed on the jersey of their favorite cricket team or football team.

The Anfield Dressing Room Part of the Stadium and Museum Tou

Collection of the Sports Museum

As there are a variety of sports museums in England, their collection also varies like the cricket museum at Lords where the MCC cricket museum lies. The former museum displays the cricketing items like bats of various players who have themselves donated to the museum. These museums are autographed by the players themselves. The National Cycling Museum, where is located in Wales, has the 18th century onwards-related collection of cycles to the latest models of cycles. The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum in London displays majorly the trophies of the Grand Slam tournament. They also have various clothes that the players wore along over 130 years of the Wimbledon history. In both museums, there are about 20,000 to 50000 objects-based collections, which are come from Asia like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, that to have or had great sporting culture or history as well as to have hardly any sports museum to speak off. The other sports museums have a very important collection in England are the National Football Museum in Manchester, and the Homes of Football Museum in London where to display the items of various football legends and trophies- based collection that to be internationally of major football tournament. These collections of sports museum grew in number because of the popularity of sports in England and also other European countries and/or USA; and because people know the value of founding the sports museums in countries like England where is originated many sports like cricket, football, tennis,…etc.

The Varies Rackets Used by Tennis Players in Wimbledon

Important Sports Museum in England

England is one of the leading countries where promote sports. Countries where many forms of sports have been originated. Naturally, British countries have many important sports museums. In fact, the first sports museum, of the world was established in England in 1853, is located at the iconic cricket ground of Lords in London. It has the original Ashes Urn and also the cricketing kits of the players who played globally in the first ever test match in 1877 between England and Australia. It is internationally one of the most visited cricket museums and also one of the best in terms of collection; as well as the National Football Museum that was founded in 2001 in Preston and then, its venue has been transferred to Manchester. It has the collection comprising of objects which are more than 100,000 objects. These objects consist of FIFA collection, the Home of Football Collection, the UEFA collection of trophies of UEFA, like the Champions League Trophy, the Europa League Trophy, the English Premier League Trophy, the FA cup trophy, and the League Cup trophy. Also, they contain the football kits of famous football players, e.g. Diego Maradona semi-final of the 1986 World Cup Jersey; and in which, he scored the winning but controversial hand of God goal for Argentina against England. They also have the 1966 World Cup trophy England won. They also have the match ball of the final of the 1966 FIFA World Cup. Other sports museum include the Brooklands Museum of Motor Sport and Aviation in Surrey. It includes a collection of Vintage Motorsport Cars and other vehicles such as the London bus models, motorsport bikes, and the cycles. They also have the National Horseracing Museum which displays the objects of various horse breeds that was used in horseracing Derby as well as the collection of various Jockeys. They also have the Dick Galloway Archery Museum in Scotland. It has various bows and arrows used by various archers in International Competition and Medals won by them all these museums valuable spotting objects. The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum was founded in 1977 in London. It has 20,000 objects and showcases the history of all the major Grand Slam tournaments of tennis. They also have the National Badminton Museum in Milton Keynes. It is also very popular museum. It has the shuttlecocks used during the history of badminton and also the iconic all England Yonex Open Trophy on display. It was founded in 2003.

The Racing Cars Collection in the Brooklands Museum Surrey

The Homes of Football in London

As sport, football is very popular sport in England, and also worldwide and its fans are crazy. The Homes of football Museum was founded by a lifelong football lover with the support of Stuart Roy Clark. He clicked internationally the photographs of all major football stadiums; and of important football matches of major tournaments such as the UEFA European Championship, the English Premier League, and FIFA World Cup; and also of major grounds of football like the Santiago Bernabeu Home of Real Madrid Football Club, the Allianz Arena Home of Bayern Munich Football Club, and the Old Trafford home of Manchester United Football Club. Clark has also photographs of club tournaments as well as the international football tournaments. This museum has 100,000 images of a history of football movements. It was started in 1989 and has collection of Stuart Roy Clark’s photographs from 1989 to 2011. As the popularity of this museum, it has been grown that Stuart got support and funding by Football Writers Association, the Professional Football Association, and FIFA. This museum has also been done the longest Touring exhibition in the history of Britain from 1995 to 2005. Where 89 of the major and most valuable photographs of Clark collection which was on display in the exhibition and visited by almost three million visitors. Clark has also published many books on football like “the Passion of a Nation”, “The Game” and so on.

The Sunderland Fans Photo Taken by Clark During a Match

The National Football Museum in Manchester

Since football was started in England, UK founded the National Museum of Football. It is globally one of the largest and the best football museums. It has various 140,000 objects including FIFA collection, Homes of Football collection (photographs were taken by Stuart Clark), UEFA collection, and English Club Football collection. It was founded in 2001 in Preston, but the venue was transferred to Manchester.

Museum is funded by the owners of Manchester City Football Club that at the current time, to be one of the most successful clubs and the richest clubs in England that to have billionaire owners from Dubai. It also has the Hall of Fame where to honor the players, the managers, the female football players who are playing and managing in English League clubs. Some of the players and managers, who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame in the National Football museum of Manchester, are Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, Kenny Dalglish, Rodger Hunt, Ian Rush, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard and many more on an average one million visitors visit the museum every year. The visitors can also experience the football that to be a 45-minute match in the practice ground of the museum. They can also take penalty shootout and get credits for each time when they play the game.

Moreover, there are other significant objects in the museum such as Diego Maradona Jersey from the 1986 FIFA world cup final against England, and the original match ball of the first FIFA World Cup played in 1930. Museum also has laws of football that was written in 1863 by the Football Association. It is currently to own the 1966 FIFA World Cup exhibition celebrating the victory of England in the World Cup. It has all the major trophies of international as well as club football competition on display in the museum. In short, it displays the history of the beautiful game along the past 150 years. It also honours the football teams in the Hall of Fame. The visitors can celebrate their birthday parties and weddings in the museum.

The History of Football Collection at the National Football Museum

The Liverpool Museum

The Liverpool Museum is situated in the historical and iconic Anfield stadium. It offers the chance that the visitors to be a part of the history of one of the most successful clubs not only in England but also in Europe. Museum displays all the five European cups which Liverpool has been won. The visitors can take the legends tour and meet legends such as Phil Neal, and Phil Thomson who played in Liverpool Football Club. Players would take the visitors on to the tour of their lifetime, if the visitor is a Liverpool fan. The visitors can see the players’ dressing room, the directors’ box, the dugout of managers, and the stadium of Anfield. They can order their own menu and have the lunch or the dinner with these legends.

There is also a Q and A session, during which the visitor can ask these Legends any question they want about the current team or their own playing days’ experience. The visitors can visit the Boot Room also along with seeing the trophies that the club was won. The visitor can take a picture with these legends and with the trophies as well as other displayed objects in the Liverpool museum, include the Steven Gerrard collection especially which was donated by Steven Gerrard himself. This collection includes all of his England caps and the Champions League final Istanbul medal that he won during the most exciting and memorable final arguably in the history of UEFA Champions League in 2005. The visitors can also buy souvenirs for themselves in the Anfield Store like the Liverpool’s cups, shirts, towels, bottles and so on. Moreover, the visitors can celebrate their own birthday party and weddings in the Liverpool museum. This museum is funded by Liverpool Football Club owners themselves; and by fan club donation or corporate funding. the museum don’t have entrance fees. The visitors can also book the Liverpool story experience or the Ultimate Anfield experience in which they will be showed the journey of 124 years of Liverpool as a football club.

The Liverpool Museum Collection

The Arsenal Museum

Arsenal Museum is another important Football Club Museums and one of the most popular and successful football clubs in England. It is located in North London. Its display is as same as the Liverpool museum including the trophies that Arsenal Football Club has been won. The visitor can take a legends tour of the museum as well as the stadium and s/he will be guided by the legendary Arsenal players such as Peter Winterburn, Charlie George and so on. S/he can get a Q and A session with them. S/he can also arrange his/her birthday party at the Emirates stadium of Arsenal Football Club.

Arsenal Stadium Tours & Museum: FA Cup Room

Manchester United Museum

Museum is considered a witness on the greatest Football story in the award winning football museum, of the greatest Football Clubs journey, and becoming one of the best and the most followed recognized Football Club worldwide. It displays the Ryan Giggs collection and the George Best collection along with the trophies. It also narrates the most horrifying event in the club’s history, the Munich crash where nine of the players of Manchester United died. It also has been created a green program which describes the museum’s environmental significance along with the trophies. It also has the Legend tour where you can see the museum as well as the stadium Old Trafford as one of the most well-known football grounds or stadium of the world. The visitor can also get the sporting merchandise of Manchester United in the museum shop.

Manchester United Museum Shop

The Chelsea Museum

Chelsea is one of the football clubs that are located in West London. It is also internationally one of the popular clubs. Its museum displays the UEFA Champions League Trophy, the UEFA Cup winners’ cup trophy, and the UEFA Europa League trophy in terms of its special collection. The visitor can take a tour of the stadium of Stamford Bridge and the sports Cafe in the museum. S/he can also take Legend tour.

The Chelsea Museum

Educational Activities of Football Museums

Football museums are not only to display a collection of trophies or history, but also to mind shift the attitude of the visitors especially the children. So, the football museums have a group of educational programs or activities that target the whole categories of audience. These programs are generally divided into three parts:

Key Stage One (KS1)

KS1 program is for primary school children (1 to 10 years). Children find out the importance of playing sports, get relaxed from their daily schedule of school, and have a proper nutritious diet or food.

Key Stage Two (KS2)

KS2 program is for children (11 to 15 years). Children develop their football skills as well as communication and mathematics through a group of workshops and exercises.

Key Stage Three (KS3)

KS3 program is for college children to study the Business or Finance commercialization. Those get a group of lectures about how to fundraising for the sports’ museum, and about exploring the use of drugs and anti-doping issues in sport.

Cultural Relevance of the Sports museum

There is a great Cultural relevance of football or sports museum in England or other European countries. Because of being the leading countries in sports and originating majorly the sports museum, so they will naturally have the sports museum in the country. So, they take lot of pride and honor representing their sports’ culture through the sports museums. For instance, they founded internationally the oldest Grand Slam. Moreover, they have the Wimbledon museum and they started cricket so, they have the MCC Museum at Lords so to narrate the history of these Sports. They have all these museums also to encourage the athletes; and to enhance their performance in National and International Sports competitions. They provide these by the training facilities and to honor them in the Hall of Fame of various sports museums. Also, there are many cities in England with a sporting background and history. Thus, it becomes essential for cities, like Manchester, London, and Birmingham, to have the sports museums. Manchester has a history of producing great cricketers as well as footballers; additionally, the Lancashire cricket club museum and the Manchester United museum where to display their history and culture. People leave their work to support their favorite football club or county cricket club whenever there is a match during the weekend or week days.

Comparison with Indian Sports Museums

Although India has been had a great sporting culture and history too such in Hockey, Cricket, Kabaddi, Kho Kho, wrestling, there are not hardly any museums related sports in India. There is the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports in Patiala. It is one of the largest Sports Institute in Asia. It is not considered as a typical sports museum because it is a training academy for coaches of different sports. Comparing with the British sports museums, the institute has a very small sports museum. Therefore, this institute’s main function is basically to produce the high quality coaches in various sports in India. It also creates seminars, conferences, workshops, does sports activities-based publications in India. It also provides an infrastructure for the sports athlete. It organises National level camp in various sports. The institute was founded in 1961. Encouraging the sports’ activities for locals in Patiala and Punjab by the Maharaja of Patiala, institute is funded by the sports’ authority of India. It has a library that consists of sports-based books for research scholars in different sports. It offers the sports’ training in 17 different sports such as Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Cricket, Fencing, Football, Gymnastics, Swimming, Volleyball, Table Tennis and so on. Moreover, it offers Masters and Diploma courses for coaches of different sports disciplines.

India has the sports’ museums such as the Blades of Glory Museum of Cricket in Pune that was founded in 2015. It is very surprising that a cricket crazy Nation like India didn’t have a cricket museum for so long. Museum was founded in 2016 by Rohan Pate who is a crazy cricket fan like 99% of people in India. He played cricket for four years during his school life but he couldn’t reach being a professional like his grandfather hoped. As a result of that, in 2012 when Sachin Tendulkar reached the landmark of hundred international centuries, he decided to collect the autographs and cricketing items of famous cricketing players to establish the museum. This move of his was supported by many other cricketing legends, who gave him their autographed collection. Also, the museum has, in its collection, the bats that was signed by all; the 11 World Cup winning captains from 1975 to 2015; the bats of triple centurions like Virender Sehwag, Brian Lara, Kumar Sangakkara and so on who have personally visited the museum.

The Blades of Glory Museum Pune


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