Wrexham: Welsh football history museum gets funding boost

A football museum in North Wales is set to receive a funding boost of more than £5m.

But there are calls for the new museum in Wrexham to "reflect the whole of Welsh football history" instead of focusing on those in the English leagues.

The museum is currently in development in Wales's newest city, which was granted the status last year.

Wrexham is also home to Wrexham FC, which was bought by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in 2021.

The Welsh government announced on Tuesday that it would invest £5.46m in the new museum.

Some £800,000 has already been invested to appoint a curator and engagement officers.

Deputy minister for arts and sports, Dawn Bowden, said there is "no better time to be creating a museum dedicated to the game, in the spiritual home of Welsh football".

But the boss of Bala Town FC, which plays in the highest league of Welsh domestic football, says the museum's content should "not be predominantly driven by the clubs who ply their trade in the English leagues".

The North Wales-based club's chief executive, Nigel Aykroyd, added: "We are all very proud in Wales of our footballing heritage and a National Welsh Football Museum would further enhance the knowledge and understanding of the historical development of our sport.

"Bala Town are excited by this project and it's potential for the further expansion and participation of the game in Wales."

The deputy minister insists that the museum will explore a variety of themes such as "Wrexham as the birthplace of Welsh football, the history of club football in Wales", and "women's football, Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and LGBTQ+ experiences".

The Welsh government hopes that it will in time be a "key venue" for the North Wales tourism industry.

A spokesperson for Wrexham County Borough Council added: "The design plans for the new Football Museum include a map of Welsh clubs from all levels across Wales and a 'Grassroots' section.

"These plans have been shared as part of our national consultations and are available to view on our website.

"We've also currently documenting the stories of a number of Welsh clubs from various levels of the game as part of our Origins project."

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The investment is part of a co-operation deal between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, with deputy Plaid Cymru leader Sian Gwenllian adding that World Cup fever "spread across Wales" last year as the national side reached the tournament for the first time since 1958.

Main opposition party, the Welsh Conservatives, have welcomed the announcement, but have said there should be no "dither and delay" when it comes to getting the project off the ground.