The recent feasibility study into a national football museum for Wales came to some important conclusions.
Firstly it establishes the need for a national football museum and, secondly, that it should be based in Wrexham. Both are important conclusions because there was some scepticism about our campaign at the outset. Some feared a general sports museum would be favoured with a location somewhere along the M4 corridor.
The report’s findings are a vindication of the campaign launched three years ago, when I and Plaid Cymru colleagues first went public alongside Wrexham Supporters’ Trust directors at The Racecourse.
Back then, we argued that a national football museum should be based in Wrexham, the spiritual home of the game. This is where football started in Wales and it’s still home to the oldest existing international stadium in the world as well as the third oldest football club in the world. It’s also where the FA of Wales has chosen to invest in the future with a National Football Development Centre at Collier’s Park.
Plaid Cymru made the case for a National Football Museum in its 2016 manifesto and ensured the feasibility study was funded in the 2017-8 budget by the Welsh Government.
Since then a powerful lobby has been created to push for this to happen.
But the report does not address a critical aspect of our campaign – to be a catalyst for the redevelopment of The Racecourse Ground. I’m disappointed that the proposal to have it located at The Racecourse is dismissed in a single paragraph. Why?
Our argument has always been that it was a way to regenerate the Crispin Lane end and ensure we had an international-standard four-sided ground once again. We also need to ensure it’s a proper National Museum, a part of the family of National Museum Wales rather than the local museum that is advocated in this report.
I know local Plaid Cymru colleagues are keen, as I am, to see this development happen and will continue to press for this museum to be part of the redevelopment at The Kop end.
Quite apart from the economic potential for such a development, the failure – to date – to establish a National Museum in the North-east is an historic failing that needs to be put right. This offers a unique opportunity to right that wrong and I would urge the Welsh Government not to miss that chance.
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