Game on for Wrexham’s national football museum - Museums Association

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Game on for Wrexham’s national football museum

Hollywood takeover puts North Wales town’s sporting heritage on the map
Redevelopment Sport
Wrexham Museum will house the national football collection
Wrexham Museum will house the national football collection Mike Dean © 2011 Eye Imagery

Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney won’t have to look too far to brush up on their knowledge of Welsh football if their bid to take over Wrexham FC goes ahead.

Plans to create a national football museum in the North Wales town are moving forward apace, with Wrexham Council looking to recruit a design team, project manager and football museum officer to oversee the development in the next few weeks.

The new museum has been allocated £5m in development funding by the Welsh government. It will be housed on the first floor of the existing Wrexham Museum building, which is also undergoing a refurbishment.

There had been some uncertainty of the future of the project after it was hit by delays to business planning, design and recruitment earlier this year due to the Covid pandemic.

But at a council meeting last month, Wrexham regeneration manager Rebeccah Lowry said that these complications had not put the project “in jeopardy”.

Steve Grenter, head of heritage services at Wrexham Museum, told Museums Journal that the project had been delayed by around six months because of Covid but was back on track. “We were just gathering momentum when the pandemic hit but now things are accelerating again,” he said.

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A video released by Reynolds and McElhenney as part of their takeover bid

Athough the new museum has no direct connection with Wrexham FC and its collection is focused on the history of the Welsh national team, Grenter said the high-profile takeover of the local club had shone a welcome spotlight on the town’s sporting heritage.

“The town is agog – it’s really weird but really amazing,” said Grenter. “What’s interesting is that in the portfolio that was produced [for the takeover], the heritage of the club was stressed in literally every line. They’ve really keyed into that as an important factor.”

Wrexham FC is the third oldest professional football club in the world – a fact that also played a role in the government’s decision to the locate the national football museum in the town, which is known as the "spiritual home" of Welsh football.

Wrexham Museum has carried out projects with Wrexham FC in the past and Grenter said he is keen to explore how it can work with the local club in future. He is also hoping to forge strong contacts with the Welsh national team and the Football Association of Wales.

A documentary camera crew has been seen out and about in the town in recent weeks capturing the takeover bid by Reynolds, who recently starred in Deadpool, and McElhenney, best known for his role in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Will they still have that star power on a cold, wet night in Wrexham? The town's football – and museum – fans will certainly be hoping so.

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