Manchester United legend: Museum should stay in Preston

Preston's bid to stop the National Football Museum from moving to Manchester has received support from an unlikely ally - Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton.

The Lancashire Evening Post revealed on Tuesday that the museum was set to move from its home on Sir Tom Finney Way in Deepdale to Urbis in Manchester due to a lack of funding.

However, 71-year-old Sir Bobby, who is president of the museum, is happy with it present location.

"I thought Preston was a good place. It's near the motorway and quite easy to get to," he said.

"It was a bit more independent than most. I know it's away from the main population centres of London, Manchester and Birmingham, but it's a marvellous museum.

"I go there sometimes and stay for hours."

Sir Bobby, who played for and managed Preston North End in the 1970s, added: "If it's moving there must be a good reason."

Preston-born Mike Summerbee, whose clubs as a player included Manchester City, said: "It's a fantastic museum and it's great that it's coming to Manchester - but you have to feel sorry for Preston.

"They did a fantastic job setting it up and this will be a really big loss to the place.

"However, Manchester benefits because it is in a more central position. It has better motorways and an airport."

The museum opened in 2001 and is home to the world's greatest football collections, including the FIFA Collection.

In December 2008, there was a furious backlash in Preston after Football League chairman Lord Brian Mawhinney suggested the museum should move to London.

The free attraction needs just under 1m every year to cover costs and the Football Stadium Improvement Fund (FSIF) stopped its annual contribution of 308,000 in March to direct its cash into grassroots sport.

The museum gets 100,000 visitors a year - but Manchester bosses hope to pull in 400,000 a year.

For more reaction about the National Football Museum story, see Wednesday's Lancashire Evening Post.

>> Preston set to lose National Football Museum

>> Football museum row reaches Parliament

>> 'Keep the football museum in Preston'

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