THE season may have ended in disappointment for Wrexham's loyal football fans but a new soccer-themed exhibition being hosted in the town may go some way to filling the hole left by the beautiful game in the barren months ahead.

Futbolka, held at Tŷ Pawb until July 7, brings together artefacts relating to Wrexham's footballing heritage, alongside contemporary artwork relating to kit design, the footballer as celebrated icon and football as a tool for social change. The exhibition also documents the growing culture of radical, DIY football fanzines and the social relevance of football kits in fashion.

"When we were initially planning the exhibition we knew that we wanted to do something related to Wrexham's footballing heritage and maybe draw more attention to it," says James Harper, curator at Tŷ Pawb.

"At the same time we still wanted to fit into Tŷ Pawb's mission and ethos, so we wanted to look at community, equality, diversion and inclusion but use Wrexham's love of football as anchor."

Eleven artists from Wrexham, North West England and beyond, were brought together by the exhibition using football as the common theme, with each one taking a different approach to convey how football has influenced their ongoing artistic practice.

"A lot of people maybe think that art and football don't mix," continues James. "But football and the arts are not unfamiliar bedfellows and back in the early 20th century, it was quite common for prominent artists to take inspiration from sports such as football.

"Football is so popular that it infiltrates everybody's lives."

One of the better-known artists featured in the exhibition is Leeds-based Simeon Barclay, who is interested in how we construct and perform our identity. Drawing on advertisements, magazines, television and music, he combines images of culturally significant moments and figures with his personal memories to understand how we define and situate ourselves within society. Football features extensively in his work, with Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona and Liverpool's first black footballer Howard Gayle both subjects he has used.

"He is a real rising star in arts terms and he had a solo exhibition at Tate Britain last year," explains James. "It's quite a coup to bring his work to Wrexham."

Futbolka takes its name from a unisex black and white vertically striped shirt which came to represent post-revolutionary Soviet clothing in the early 20th century. The shirt featured in multiple art works of the period and came to represent an emblem of vitality.

"I was asked by James if I wanted to put some work in the exhibition and I had drawn some illustrations of Welsh footballers which seemed ideal, " says Wrexham artist Liam Stokes-Massey, who specialises in pencil-drawn portraits of well-known players.

"My day to day to job is commission work, so I do a lot of pets, people's families and buildings but whenever I get some time to myself I like to draw footballers because I am a big football fan.

"You can feel the passion for football here. It runs deep in Wrexham and I think of it as the spiritual home for Welsh football. The talk of potentially having a National Football Museum for Wales here is very exciting and Wrexham is exactly where it should be.

"At the moment I think there is something of a renaissance in football-related art and I know that illustrations of footballers are very popular - the likes of BT Sport and magazines like MUNDIAL are all using illustrations more and more."

Futbolka will feature football shirts, scarves and other items taken from the Wrexham Museum archives and other private collections which are displayed alongside paintings, clothing, films and other artworks. The wider programme relating to Futbolka will include tournaments, film screenings and a conference with speakers and panels discussing the topics of the exhibition."

Jo Marsh, arts lead for Wrexham County Borough Council and Tŷ Pawb's creative director, says, "Futbolka will bring many aspects of Tŷ Pawb's mission together as one cohesive whole. Its part of the 'Make/Play' season we are running in 2019/20.

"Futbolka will also represent many of our aims in relation to health and wellbeing in our county. Combining locally important artefacts and artworks with those of international significance will make for a delightful exhibition for all members of the community to visit."

Lead member for people - communities, partnerships public protection and community safety, Cllr Hugh Jones, adds: "It is very fitting that Tŷ Pawb's latest exhibition celebrates football, a sport which is such a huge part of Wrexham's heritage.

"There will be something here for all ages to enjoy and I'm sure the accompanying programme of activities, discussions and film showings will draw a lot of local interest.

"It's a continuation of a wonderfully varied and colourful programme of exhibitions Tŷ Pawb is delivering in 2019."

Futbolka will be on show at Tŷ Pawb from May 4 until July 27.