Nowadays Manchester likes to claim its place as the centre of world football.

Spanish dominance and a London Champion's League may make a rather different claim.

But the National Football Museum, situated in the heart of the city in what was formerly Urbis, is certainly a statement of intent.

It used to be located at Preston North End's Deepdale stadium until, in 2009 – a year after Manchester City found itself with new Arab owners – it was announced that it was to move 34 miles south.

And what a result. With £8 million of investment poured into Ian Simpson's angular, green-glass building amid a heap of controversy over Urbis' demise, it seems to have achieved its goal.

The museum is a national offering so there is less pushing of all things Manc than you would otherwise expect with the United and City paraphernalia overshadowed by that of other teams from the UK.

Original programmes from the 1923 and 1953 FA Cup finals are on display together with shirts and other historical documents from two of Bolton Wanderers' most prominent moments.

There is a model of Burnden Park at the time of the crush which led to 33 deaths in 1946 as part of a moving display involving a metal barrier and rolling video exploring football's worst disasters.

Nat Lofthouse – himself on the National Football Museum's hall of fame – is celebrated many times over, on one occasion in a Top Trumps style interactive game celebrating the best British strikers.

And there is a 90 second look at Turton FC which lays claim to being the oldest football club in the world.

Indeed, unafraid to explore lower league and grassroots football, historic clubs from Bury FC to Macclesfield Town are celebrated and there is a prominent quote from a Bolton College student.

Culture also figures highly with the Professional Footballers' Association having lent the £1.9m Lowry oil painting Going to the Match which shows a crowd of fans on their way to Burnden Park.

Much thought has gone into preventing the museum from being a boring static collection of shirts, programmes, footballs and trophies. It also includes a highly interactive area packed with games and activities from a computerised penalty shoot-out to a unique football pitch floor in which two people can boot around a virtual ball.

Although entry is free, special tokens can be bought which allow visitors to have their photo taken with the FA Cup or appear within an edition of Match of the Day. It's a shame these parts are not included for free but then it is, one could hypothesise, in keeping with many contemporary matchday experiences.

Whether or not the museum will stand up to repeat visits very much depends on the quality of the rolling exhibits, the first of which is The Homes of Football, a collection of incredible photographs by lifelong Blackburn Rovers fan Stuart Roy Clarke.

The museum's bosses expect 350,000 visitors each year, some 100,000 more than Urbis attracted. That would put it into the Premiership of museums something nobody would argue it does not deserve.

Catch it if you can - Barnes

Former England and Liverpool striker John Barnes was on hand for the official opening of the National Football Museum.

Now aged 48, Barnes, who also rapped his way through part of New Order's World in Motion song in 1990, said: “The museum's collection is amazing and it's wonderful to see this collection remain in the North West in such a magnificent setting. Football has many great stories to tell and the exhibits here get such a wide collection of messages across.”

Council boss praises museum move

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said the museum would prove to be a major tourist attraction for the North West.

He was instrumental in encouraging the move of the museum from Preston to Manchester and he said: “Manchester is a leading city in terms of football so it is fitting that this museum is located within the city. We believe it will be hugely attractive to visitors and football fans.

“It was such a vitally important move for Manchester. Urbis was under-performing and we needed something to revitalise this magnificent building.

“A lot of work has gone into delivering what we feel is a world-class attraction that will continue to enthral visitors for years to come.”