top of page

National Football Museum 

Home to the game of our lives

The context

Not alone among cultural destinations in facing pressure to ensure long term viability, National Football Museum had taken the brave decision to introduce visitor charging for all non-Manchester residents. 

So, the key issue for the new Chief Executive, Tim Desmond, was how to successfully develop a ‘tourist attraction’ proposition for paying customers alongside a commitment to creating social capital. What is the new vision and strategy that all stakeholders; funders, trustees, staff and partners could believe in?


The approach

Internal team interviews > external stakeholder engagement and research digest of data and research > insights and recommendations > co-creation of proposition and positioning
development of vision > amplification across teams

The strategic shift

From hardware and heroes to using football for good

The lack of definition of the Museum’s role in the ‘world of football’ had been a root cause of an unfocused strategy and confusing visitor experience. Encouraging the leadership team and trustees to explore the Museum’s role, our recommendation was that it was no longer appropriate or useful to offer ‘a shrine to hardware and heroes’. Instead, we needed to think about and position the museum as a dynamic agent of social change; playing an active, not  passive, role and promising participation and involvement for all.


And so, we introduced the notion of the football effect as the focus of the Museum’s positioning and strategy; uniquely exploring the impact of football on society and society on football.

NFMcasestudyslides copy.002.jpeg

"Whilst it may sound simple, getting agreement and support for a new way of thinking about the Museum’s role - both socially and operationally - lies right at the heart of the change we need to make. 

Creating this idea with the input of key stakeholders and active involvement of colleagues and trustees has made our ownership and support for the idea stronger. I admired the intelligence and the empathy that Martin brought to the project and would commend Boardroom to others looking for a new sense of organisational purpose and mission."


Tim Desmond,

Chief Executive,

National Football Museum

The requirement now is to marry the provision of a ‘great visit’ with the opportunity to use the unparalleled appeal of football to help change lives.


By doing so, even charging can be positioned as a positive attribute;
if we can dial up our work for social good, we can demonstrate the positive impact made through the admission charge.


A purposeful purpose

The National Football Museum exists to explore football’s role in society; to promote education, understanding and inclusion, recognising football’s unique role and its power to engage. 

The Game of our Lives 

The Museum’s mission is now to tell, share and create stories of the Game of our Lives; showing how football impacts on all of us; allowing everyone to explore and enjoy football’s central role in our lives.


A game for all

Football is about taking part; as a player, fan and consumer. So participation is woven into the promise for all: both by actively using football for good, providing inclusion and opportunity, and by deploying exciting, participatory ways for visitors to engage with and experience the Museum and its collection.


New partnerships

Greater clarity on purpose underpins the strategy for partnerships, collaborations and future development. The Museum hadn’t previously presented a cohesive story to the ‘world of football’; clubs, governing bodies, brands, media. Now we can unlock opportunity and recruit support for our work to tell the stories of the Game of our Lives and demonstrate the football effect.  

bottom of page