THE WELSH Government is said to be pressing ahead with plans to develop a National Football Museum in Wrexham

Plans to create a National Football Museum in Wrexham are "advancing" despite the difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The plans had stalled over concerns about the size and suitability of Wrexham Museum - which has been chosen as the preferred location for the new National Football Museum.

However, Dafydd Elis Thomas, the Welsh Government’s deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism, confirms a steering group has been established to develop a national football museum as part of Wrexham Museum.

Wrexham Council is leading the project and the Welsh Government is keen to work “alongside communities to encourage participation” and “inspire visitors from all backgrounds.”

A business plan and case for investment was completed during the summer and its recommendations are currently being considered by the steering group, with particular focus on maximising the available space in the current museum building.

The Welsh Government believes the project will complement other developments in the town including the FAW National Training Centre at Collier’s Park, the Wrexham FC Professional Training Centre at the Groves, and the Wrexham Gateway redevelopment of the Racecourse Ground.

Lesley Griffiths, Wrexham Senedd Member, said: “In spite of the challenges created by Covid-19, I am pleased the Welsh Government is pressing ahead with its plans and is determined to see a National Football Museum become a reality in Wrexham.

“The town has always been the rightful home of Welsh football but the impending takeover of Wrexham AFC by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney has helped raise our footballing profile furthermore on a global scale.

“Coupled with the Wrexham Gateway project, there is an opportunity to achieve something truly special and transformative for the town. Establishing the museum and securing the investment would be a major boost and I determined to see this project materialise.”

The move has been welcomed by Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru's North Wales MS, who launched the campaign for a Wrexham-based national museum five years ago.

Mr Gruffydd, who will contest Clwyd South for Plaid Cymru in next year's election, said: "This has been something we in Plaid Cymru have pushed for a long time and it's good to see it come to fruition as a result of our pressure on the Welsh Government. Our original call for a national football museum in Wrexham was met with some initial scepticism but the campaign won the doubters over.

"We're grateful for the initial support from Wrexham Supporters' Trust and its then chair Pete Jones, who was there at the launch in December 2015. Back then we had to convince people that we needed a football museum, that it should be in Wrexham and that it should be at a revamped Racecourse ground. Eventually, as part of a budget agreement with the Welsh Government, Plaid Cymru was able to get the funding needed for this project to go ahead.

"We won the arguments with the first two elements but the new museum will be housed in Wrexham's county museum - perhaps in years to come it can be relocated to the Racecourse as the Kop End gets redeveloped. We'll see what happens when the new owners take over - perhaps it will be part of their plans."

Wrexham councillor Carrie Harper added: "Wrexham is the spiritual home of Welsh football - this is where the Football Association of Wales was created and early internationals played.

"We've got a tremendous history to tell through the generations right up to the present day - everyone's looking forward to next year's Euros as Wales goes from strength to strength and more locally the town buzzing with news of new owners.

"Wrexham council owns one of the largest collections of Welsh football memorabilia and this is a great opportunity to showcase that. I can't think of a better time to open the new museum."