Just last Thursday in The Guardian newspaper, I read an article about the National Football Museum, which is located at Preston North End’s Deepdale Stadium. This alluded to serious funding concerns, and whether the museum might be better relocated to Manchester, or even the national stadium at Wembley.
Coincidently, I happened to be in the North West on Thursday, and, prompted by the article, went to pay my very first visit to the museum.
With an expectation of being able to enhance my own personal research of the history of football in Stevenage, I have to express some considerable disappointment. Any references to non-league football was, well, negligible, to say the least.
Many of the glamorous league clubs and our national teams were highly profiled, – as you would expect. A small section of the museum also displayed artefacts from the mid to late 1800’s, when football was in its embryonic stage. However, when you consider the number of non-league clubs in the country, the number of participants, and the number of spectators, then I have to subscribe to the view that lower league football was massively under-represented.
The museum is a registered charity, principally funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Football Foundation Trust, Dept of Culture, Media & Sport, Preston City Council, and Lancashire County Council. Not surprisingly therefore, you find that Lancashire clubs are very well represented…
It was Hitchin Town that had the very first football museum in the country. Perhaps its time the nation had a museum dedicated to the legions of non-league football clubs?
Having got my back up regarding the lack of respect afforded to non-league clubs by the football authorities, I then read the recent BSP Roundup in The Comet. The article referred to the fact that the FA (our national governing body) neglected to reference the latest draw for the Trophy on their web-site. The comment went on to state:
“what a shameful lack of respect and disregard for non-league football this showed”
Oh, how I concur!
Chairman of Stevenage Borough Supporters Association