An ambitious campaign to “bring football home” to its spiritual birthplace has been launched in Wrexham.
Plaid Cymru – The Party Of Wales is proposing that a Welsh National Football Museum be developed in Wrexham, the home of Welsh football.
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Wrexham is where the first international match was played in Wales, where the oldest international ground in the world – the Racecourse – is located and where the Football Association of Wales was formed. It is also home to Wrexham AFC, one of the world’s oldest football clubs.
Launching the campaign at the Racecourse, Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru’s Wrexham candidate, said:
“Wales has a number of National Museums and Galleries but none of them are in the north-east. Creating a national football museum, similar to those in Manchester and Glasgow, would help redress that balance and emphasise the key role that the north-east and Wrexham specifically has had in the development of the game.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring together various elements of our footballing past together at a time when the future of Welsh football has never been brighter. It would also be a welcome boost for the town, attracting new visitors, creating work and providing an educational facility for youngsters.”
Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru’s Clwyd South candidate, said:
“This is the perfect place to locate a national football museum. The north-east has been a hotbed of footballing talent from the days of Chirk’s Billy Meredith, who played professionally with Manchester United until he was 49, to Mark Hughes and Harry Wilson, of Corwen, who is Wales’s youngest ever international player.
“The aim of our campaign is to bring together all interested parties such as the Football Association of Wales, Wrexham AFC, Wrexham Council, the Welsh Government as well as cross-party support. With Wales qualifying for the European Championships in 2016, there’s never been a better time to celebrate our part in developing the Beautiful Game. We hope that football fans from across Wales and beyond will also support the campaign by joining our Facebook page or following us on Twitter.“We are confident that, with broad support, a business plan can be put in place to secure lottery funding to build and maintain the museum – as happened with the English national football museum in Manchester.”
Harry Wilson, who in October 2013 became the youngest-ever player to play for Wales, at the age of 16 years and 207 days, has added his backing for the campaign and is attending the launch of the campaign in Wrexham:
“Wales has got a great future ahead of it as a football nation and it’s important we remember and celebrate our past achievements and efforts too. Wrexham would be the ideal place for a national football museum for Wales and I urge everyone to get behind this campaign.”