Bantams museum reopens

First published in News by

Stuart McCall's first competitive game in charge of Bradford City will not be the only glorious return to the Coral Windows stadium on Saturday.

The Bantamspast Bradford City museum will reopen to the public tomorrow after an eight-month hiatus.

The museum enjoyed a highly successful 18 months when it first opened in the summer of 2005 and more than 40,000 visitors passed through its doors.

Among the exhibits on display have been medals from the 1911 FA Cup winning side, England caps, vintage shirts and hundreds of other artefacts from throughout the club's proud history.

But the space the exhibit took up was always intended to be temporary and museum closed shortly before the end of last year to make way for new commercial tenants.

However the museum is to rise from the ashes this weekend in new premises above the club shop as part of a community resource being opened by the club.

The new community base is being organised by City fan David Ward, who works for the club to develop local relations as part of a secondment from his employers, Leeds Metropolitan University.

As well as the museum, the centre will house a community café, a meeting space and even businesses when it is fully operational.

Mr Ward said: "Leeds Met has put the funding in to lease the space of which the museum is just one part.

"There are a number of people interested in using part of the space.

"We hope to offer it organisations who bring people together and help with development of business in the area."

Mr Ward added that he had had several meetings with newly installed joint-chairman Mark Lawn and the possibilities of the new centre.

John Ashton, one of the museum's curators, said the reopening of the museum will help continue the feel-good factor around the club, which began with the appointment of fan's favourite as manager.

Mr Ashton said: "Much of what is there now was in the old place and the space is a very exciting one.

"We have got big plans for the future. We are looking at getting footage of Bradford City's first game at Valley Parade and of Manningham playing their last game screened in there."

Bantams fanzine editor Mike Harrison has also been heavily involved in the restoration of the museum which organisers hope will draw in supporters and non-supporters of the club and appeal to football fans and non-football fans alike.

Mr Ashton said: "A key factor is that this is not just for football fans. It paints a picture of the city's past."

The museum opens its doors to the public at 1.30pm prior to the kick-off of the Bantams' first league game of season against Macclesfield.

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