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A Sheffield football charity is to launch an online museum to celebrate the city’s soccer heritage. Sheffield Home of Football plans to launch the website ahead of a physical museum in 2026. The virtual museum will showcase Sheffield football memorabilia dating back to the 1800s, as well as old photo albums and newspaper clippings.

Charity secretary John Clarke told the BBC: “We want to show that football really did begin in Sheffield.” Most of the exhibits have been donated by fans whose fathers or grandfathers played football in Sheffield, with strips, medals and trophies among the items collected. It is hoped it will launch in the next six months on the Sheffield Home of Football website.

Once the physical museum opens in 2026, the treasures will be moved there. The location is yet to be confirmed. Both the virtual and real-life museums will be free and a “priceless resource” for research, the charity said. Mr Clarke said: “The museum will show how Sheffield is the real home of the modern game. “But why Sheffield? It has all the ingredients of great football including rebellious workforces who historically wanted to set up football teams to become united.

“Sheffield FC was the world’s first football club in 1857 and the city also has the oldest football ground – Hallam FC’s Sandygate Road. Between 1857 and 1875, of the world’s 89 football clubs, 49 of them were based in Sheffield.”

Mr Clarke said that former players’ families had contacted Sheffield Home of Football to offer memorabilia, including a county trophy from 1890, thought to be the fifth oldest in the world. It is hoped Sheffield Home of Football’s museum will eventually be twinned with Manchester’s National Football Museum and the organisations will be able to share exhibits.

Mr Clarke added: “We want to educate people about the importance of Sheffield as a city and what it contributed to the modern game.”#

By Hayley Coyle BBC News

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