Whenever we head into Manchester my boys ask if we can go here – they just can’t get enough of the place! Housing a Hall of Fame and the world’s greatest collection of memorabilia (including Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ shirt) – the National Football Museum also gives your budding Aguero or Rooney the chance to test their skills at everything from shooting at goal to commentating.
There are plenty of interactive exhibits on the first floor, together with stacks of interesting stuff to read. My boys were particularly fond of the matching flags to their countries game, a hologram film of Gary Lineker, FA cup jigsaws, and a booth in which they giggled at funny footie television clips. There’s also a small cinema where we watched a lovely short film, ‘Our Beautiful Game’, a day in the life of football, from grass roots through to Wembley Stadium.
There’s so much to do here that we decided to take a half-time break: coffee and juice in the café (open 8am-6pm, breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea is served here) before heading to the second floor for Football Plus+. There are seven activities to try out, from testing your reactions with Shot-Stopper, to trying your hand at being a pundit on Match of the Day Commentary Challenge. You buy credits for these activities downstairs, and get your own user ID so you can watch yourself online afterwards when you get home. A huge hit with my boys! There’s also a Discovery Zone for under-fives with a soft play area, dressing up and activities. Felix had a quick bounce around in here, but was soon distracted by his brother’s shouting – he’d discovered a virtual game of football. After dragging them away from diving and skidding around, we spent several calm minutes looking at a display of football toys before embarking on a raucous family game of ‘You are the Ref!’
There are regularly-changing
exhibitions on the third floor, which don’t always have football as their theme, and a wide range of family activities during schools holidays. We all had a brilliant time here, and headed home with huge smiles on our faces to watch our commentaries and skills. This museum is an absolute must for football fans of all ages.