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A Quick Catch Up With Michael Ganley, Director Of The SAFC Museum

We first spoke to Michael in 2014, when the SAFC Museum was in it's infancy. With the museum now taking residency in the City Library, we caught up with Michael to get an update on the project.

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

First of all, the museum has a new home in the City Library! How did that come about?

We had an meeting with the Sunderland City Library out of pure coincidence, and from that we then had a meeting with the head of Culture in The City Council five days later.

To say it happened quick is an understatement. I was then offered to utilise the ground floor in the main City Library, located in Fawcett street, for six months - something I couldn't say no to.

In a feature we ran on the museum back in 2014 you spoke of how your main goal was to find a more permanent home for it. Now that has been achieved, what's next for the SAFC museum?

The venue we are utilising is not our final resting bed - we are still going to be doing road shows, to schools, colleges, care homes and hospitals.

We have been asked to look at a couple of iconic buildings in Sunderland to see if we would like to utilise those, so watch this space.

A couple of years ago you told us that your favourite piece of memorabilia in your collection is the spare shirt from the 1973 Cup Final, which is signed by Bob Stokoe. What are your favourite additions over the last two years?

Well the list is endless now! Being able to display the boardroom table & chairs from Roker Park is fantastic - getting fans young and old to sit there to think of who could have sat in those seats, signing the contracts, even back to the World Cup of 1966. Its all memories, but obviously having Fabio Borini’s Capital One Cup Final strip and match ball is something everyone can now relate too.

You also mentioned that the likes of Jimmy Montgomery, Gary Bennett and a few other ex-players had been very helpful during the museum's early days. Have you had more ex-players getting involved as the museum's reputation has grown?

Yes - I’ve supported the Former Players Association for twelve years now and they are all on board. They understand how much I’m doing in the community, visiting care homes and schools, and bare in mind I’ve not had any funding for two years. Now we are a registered CIC though, we will be looking for more staff and someone to help with funding.

How involved with the club is the SAFC Museum these days?

We support the club by doing the fanzone free of charge - we open up four hours before a match and close two hours after, and we also help the program with items for the museum vaults.

No other program in the premier league can offer this, so hopefully the club will win an award, but obviously we continue to push the positives. We are strict on social media with what we post - all we do is create a positive buzz around the city and not to forget, there isn’t another museum of its kind in the world that supports there club without any financial support.

As a fan, what are your thoughts on the season so far? Any pieces of memorabilia from this campaign that you'd like to get your hands on?

As a fan of thirty-six years, what can I say, This is Sunderland. I do know we won’t go down - our fight is back in the bellies, and me and every other fan deserves stability.

I'd love a white match worn shirt from Palace last season. From this campaign, I'd quite like a shirt from our FA Cup game v Arsenal.

Finally, any specific items you're on the look out for which someone out there may be able to help find?

We are always looking to buy anything match worn, or from Roker Park, all players medals, players contracts, International shirts and caps, old footballs and old boots. If they have a story we want to spread it to all our fans.

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