Newtown to bid for national football museum

Reporter:

Mike Sheridan

Newtown will seek to host the National Football Museum of Wales, after a meeting of the town council agreed to move forward with a bid.

The project, which is earmarked for £5 million of funding from the Welsh Government, is currently at the feasibility study phase, with a rival bid from Wrexham thought to be the only other contender.

A meeting of Newtown Town Council’s Economy and Environment Committee discussed the project on Monday and agreed to put a bid to rival the Wrexham proposal.

Councillor Richard Edwards, chair of the Economy and Environment Committee, said: “We’ve agreed to put a bid forward for this project, which could be a very exciting development for Newtown.

“We want to work with Powys County Council and Newtown AFC to put a really good bid forward now.

“We’ve spoken to the company putting together the feasibility study and they have asked us to contribute.

“There is land available for the project and football in Newtown has a terrific history with the club being founder members of the Football Association of Wales, so I’d say we have a strong claim.”

The bid has also received support on a national level, with Montgomeryshire AM Russell George offering his support and raising the subject with Rebecca Evans AM, Minister for Social Services and Public Health, in the Welsh Assembly last week.

Ms Evans told the Senedd in a brief response: “The National Football Museum is something that the Welsh Government has committed to and the cabinet secretary for sport and well-being is undertaking a feasibility study for that as well.”

Newtown’s bid faces stiff competition from Wrexham, whose plans are already well advanced. Wrexham AFC, who compete in the English League system rather than the Welsh Premier League, will tie the bid in with a proposal to redevelop their Racecourse Ground, which is currently owned by next-door Glyndwr University. The dilapidated Kop Stand at Wrexham has been closed for 10 years as the club has been unable to obtain a safety certificate for it.

Similar football museums exist in England and Scotland, with the English national museum attracting more than half-a-million visitors a year to its Manchester site.

A spokesman for the National Football Museum in Manchester, said: “Both England and Scotland have National Football Museums so a celebration of Wales’ contribution to the history of the game can only be a good thing.

“We know first-hand how popular football museums are, and should the plans develop further we’d be delighted to share our knowledge and experiences in how to make a football-centric museum a success.”

Email:

mike.sheridan@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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