Honouring the players on 
the frontline

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there are so many football stories associated with the First World War that the task of deciding which to feature in this new exhibition was always going to be a tough one.

Dr Alexander Jackson, collections officer at the National Football Museum, has spent the last 18 months planning and plotting with the exhibit team to come up with this most stunning collection of artefacts and recordings.

“We have been working on this for about a year-and-a-half and it is our contribution to the wider remembrance of the centenary of the First World War,” he said. “What we are trying to do is tell a little bit of the story of football in World War One, from the pre-war days, through the war years and then into the post-war period.

“We aim to tell the full story. We cover the 1914-15 season which was very controversial as it went ahead despite the war raging on in Europe.

“We tell stories of footballers playing the game at the front. Football was played by troops to raise morale in a bid to escape the horror of the trenches.

“We also look at football on the home front as well, the women who took up the sport and started to play matches and also the local clubs who kept on playing throughout the war to raise money for charity.

“The exhibition also looks at many of the post-war stories, of the men who came back from battle and tried to find a life in football.”

And in Barnsley hero Wilfred Bartrop, they found the perfect man to open their exhibit.

“The story of Wilfred Bartrop is a particularly poignant one because he was killed just a few days before the Armistice and we start the exhibition with his story.

“What is amazing with the Bartrop story is that there is film of him. To actually see someone running, living and breathing gives you a whole new aspect and makes it more real.”

The exhibition at the National Football Museum in Manchester will remain open to the public right through until September, 2015.

There is also an associated website link where supporters can call-up a club-by-club link showing all of those footballers who served in the First World War. This can be found at: 
footballandthefirstworldwar.com