Express & Star

'Football is part of our city': Football exhibit kicks off at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Football fans across the region now have the chance to see some of the beautiful game's most historic items.


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The biggest football exhibition of its kind featuring more than 200 local and international football items kicked off at Wolverhampton Art Gallery on Saturday, and it's free to visit.

Football: Designing the Beautiful Game, a Design Museum touring exhibition, will showcase items from some of the game’s greatest players, including Pelé and Lionel Messi, alongside memorabilia from local footballing heroes.

The world-class exhibition opened last Saturday – the same day as the FA Cup Final – and features objects on loan from The National Football Museum in Manchester and the FIFA Museum in Zurich, as well as from private collectors.

To reflect Wolverhampton’s rich footballing history, items from the Wolves Museum will also be on display while family friendly activities are being created to add to the fun.

The international touring exhibition by the Design Museum in London reveals the design stories behind the world’s number-one sports, featuring retro Wolves shirts, boots, footballs and shin pads, while paying homage to some of the greatest footballers to have ever graced the game.

Councillor Chris Burden visitied the spectacular gallery on its opening day and said he could 'really feel' the sense of history throughout the impressive display

Councillor Chris Burden, cabinet member for city development, jobs and skills, said: “You really can't talk about football without talking about Wolves.

"You can feel the sense of history as you walk around, whether it's contemporary stuff like the Messi shirt, or some of the architectural elements showing off different stadiums, and the first boots that we attach to modern football.

"We need to have people coming here and seeing this, it's vital that its happening in Wolverhampton. The football league's history is rooted here in this city and making sure people know that is hugely important.

"Football is part of our city and our city is part of football, so getting new people in to visit this, and other parts of our gallery is amazing to see."

Boots on show include those warn by Pele and gloves warn by Manuel Neuer can also be seen

Visitors to the exhibition can expect to discover how innovation has been used to push the game to its technical and emotional limits - from the master-planning behind the world’s most famous football stadiums and the cutting-edge materials used in today’s boots, to the graphic design of team badges and grassroots initiatives which push back against the sport’s commercialisation.

The exhibition’s ‘second half’ features a screening of a film about another of the games’ greatest players – Zinédine Zidane.

Filmed by contemporary artists Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno, ‘Zidane, a 21st Century Portrait’ follows the French star in real time over the course of a single match in 2005.

It’s assembled from footage shot by 17 synchronised cameras and captures Zidane from multiple angles, both up close and from afar, and follows him even when the central action of the match moves elsewhere.

Hundreds of items are on show, including shin pads warn by world cup winner Lionel Messi

The exhibition will run until Sunday, 1 September. It is free to enter, although pre-booking is advised.

Fans can watch the film ‘Zidane, a 21st Century Portrait’ at the Gallery from Saturday June 29 to Sunday October 20. Pre-booking is advised for that too.