THE new National Football Museum got Royal treatment last Thursday, June 21, when it was officially opened by the Duke of Kent.

Some of the sport's great personalities attended the ceremony at Preston's Deepdale ground, including legendary England and North End player Sir Tom Finney and Bobby Charlton of England and Manchester United fame.

A keen sportsman, the Duke of Kent used to be president of the Football Association.

The official party were taken on a tour of the museum which houses more than 1,000 items of sporting memorabilia.

It opened in February this year and has attracted visitors from across the globe including the Ukraine, Australia and the USA.

The museum cost more than £12million to build, with money coming from the Lottery Heritage Fund, the Football Association, FIFA and other organisations.

It is home to some of the world's greatest footballing history and features ten different collections, including the earliest recorded footage of a football match from 1898, between Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion. The collection includes objects from all 128 teams to have competed in the Football League over the years, and celebrity commentators Jimmy Hill, Gary Lineker and Alan Hanson have supplied a soundtrack to the exhibits.

Museum director Kevin Moore said: "This was an important day for us and for the area. It was a brilliant opportunity for a lot of important football figures to visit the museum. Now it is officially open we are hoping that around 100,000 visitors will be coming each year, which will have a good, knock-on effect on the whole town."

A day ticket to the museum is £6.95 for adults and £4.95 for five to 15-year-olds. There is no charge for under-fives.