Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Thursday, 15 October 2009 14:07 UK

Rival bid on football museum move

The National Football Museum, Preston
The museum attracts about 100,000 visitors a year

Two councils and a university have joined forces to fight the National Football Museum's proposed move from Preston to Manchester city centre.

Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council and the University of Central Lancashire have put a financial package together to keep it in the city.

The plan is to move the museum, at Preston North End's Deepdale football ground, to Manchester's Urbis centre.

The museum will consider the bid as well as one by Manchester City Council.

We're not going to let the museum leave without a fight
Lancashire County Councillor Geoff Driver

A spokesman said: "No decisions have been made yet.

"Both bids will go to an independent financial consultant before the museum's board of trustees make a decision on 23 October."

The museum has previously said that it was not receiving enough funding and that a move would secure its financial future.

The councils and university say their bid aims to "secure the attraction's long-term future in Preston with a promise of immediate investment, backed by a plan to attract sponsors, boost visitor numbers and revamp the exhibition space".

County Councillor Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "Preston is the first and true home of football and the National Football Museum is an important part of the life of the county.

"We're not going to let the museum leave without a fight.

"The plan we've put on the table is a strong commitment by the three leading public bodies in Preston."

'Hand of God'

The partnership proposes to put £400,000 a year to make up for the shortfall in funding from national and regional bodies.

It also plans an additional £3m for refitting the museum and hopes to put more collections on display across the north-west of England.

Manchester City Council has said that there is "enormous potential" for the museum in Manchester.

Up to 100,000 people a year currently visit the museum.

Exhibits include the ball from the 1966 World Cup final, Maradona's shirt from the "Hand of God" game between England and Argentina and the oldest FA Cup trophy.

Preston North End was one of the 12 founder members of the Football League in 1888, becoming the first team to do the League and FA Cup "double".

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