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Comanche in league exhibition

26 September 2013

The Wycombe Comanche is pride of place as part of a new exhibition at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

Former assistant manager Terry Gibson bought the Comanche, a 5ft Red Indian, as a lucky charm after staying up on the final day at Lincoln City in 1999/00.
The exhibition, entitled ‘Game Changers: 125 Years of The Football League’ and free to all visitors, celebrates the 125th anniversary of the world’s original league football competition.

It runs from September through until April, the length of the first season of The Football League in 1888/89.

Game Changers tells the story of the origins of the professional game and its place at the heart of our nation’s sporting culture. The exhibition brings to life the personalities and events that have shaped league football, both on and off the pitch.  It also features some of football’s most iconic and historic items - including many never before seen objects - with each of The Football League’s 72 member clubs providing an item of historical importance.

Greg Clarke, the Chairman of The Football League said: “This new exhibition at the National Football Museum captures the essence of The Football League and what it means to millions of people throughout the country.

“The content of the exhibition is extraordinary; it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see items from 125 years of football history and we’re thrilled that it features contributions from all 72 League clubs.

“I strongly encourage supporters to go and see the exhibition and the rest of this outstanding museum.”

Kevin Moore, National Football Museum Director said: “The history of The Football League provides a fascinating story for football fans across the world. It’s the benchmark of competition football and a triumph for the game that this nation created.

“We’re delighted for the fantastic support from The Football League and The Arts Council for this exciting new exhibition.  Game Changers reinforces our message that the National Football Museum really is for all fans of all clubs.”

Game Changers is divided into five chronological zones. Zone 1 looks at the origins of league football and pays homage to the founder of The Football League, William McGregor.

Zone 2 looks at football between the wars with a particular focus on one of its great modernisers, Herbert Chapman of Huddersfield Town and Arsenal. Football’s post-war heyday is covered in Zone 3 with the legendary Sir Stanley Matthews at its heart.

A major part of the exhibition is dedicated to the original superstar footballer, George Best, whose Football League debut was 50 years ago this month.  Zone 4 showcases some unique objects on loan from Best’s sister Barbara McNarry, including poignant letters sent home to his parents.

Artist Chris O’Shea has been commissioned to develop a new interactive artwork, inspired by the life-story of George Best, which will put museum visitors in the shoes of a footballing superstar. The artwork part of the new Arts Council funded ‘Out of Play’ visual arts programme at the museum, uses Kinect motion tracking technology to put visitors under the celeb-spotlight.

Zone 5 looks at football in the modern era, the role played by supporters and what The Football League is today.
The National Football Museum boasts three floors of objects, stories and ‘hands-on’ interactives. Highlights include a shirt from the world's first international match played in 1872, the 1966 World Cup final ball and the shirt worn by Maradona during the infamous 1986 ‘Hand of God’ quarter-final match between England and Argentina.




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