You may remember that Bolton Wanderers' opening match of the 2013/14 season was a special celebration of the Football League's 125th anniversary. The match, played between Bolton and Burnley at Turf Moor, was one of six special fixtures across the Championship, League One, and League Two marking rivalries between founding members of the Football League. The match ended in a 1-1 draw for Bolton with Darren Pratley scoring the Trotters' lone goal.
That weekend has come and gone but the celebrations of the anniversary are not yet done. The Football League is set to continue to mark the date with a new exhibit at the National Football Museum in Manchester. The exhibit will run for six months (the length of the first Football League season) following a preview date of 19 September.
According to DesignWeek, the exhibit will focus on the history and development of the league, telling the stories of the various clubs, players, managers, and fans. It will be arranged chronologically along a central timeline that spans from 1888 to 2013, going through some of the major milestones, innovations, and changes that the league and the sport have experienced. Examples include the first rules, the introduction of crossbars (they'll never catch on), and of course, the first goal (scored by Bolton's Kenny Davenport against Derby County on 8 September, 1888).
Each of the current 72 clubs has donated a signed shirt that will be displayed at the exhibit alongside an object of historical importance from each club's personal collection. It will be interesting to see what exactly Bolton will provide.
Mather & Co project designer Paul Lee said of the exhibit:
"It will chart the highs and lows of the clubs, players, managers and fans."
Per DesignWeek, the area will be split up into five zones alongside the overall history of the league and the overarching timeline. Four of the zones will closely examine William McGregor (Football League founder), Herbert Chapman (Arsenal manager), Stanley Matthews (England, Stoke City & Blackpool), and George Best (Manchester United & Northern Ireland). The fifth zone will be all about the fans.