The National League is pleased to announce the original trophy, annually presented to the champions of the Football Conference since inception of the competition, is to go on public display at the National Football Museum in Manchester from the end of October.
The trophy, having a unique pyramid shape, was made in 1980 through a generous donation from Noel Kelly, who also designed and engineered the trophy – Noel being associated through one of the original member clubs – Nuneaton Borough.
It is therefore somewhat ironic that it is now returning to go on display not far from where it made its first appearance, as the club to lift the trophy was Altrincham FC, inaugural winners of season 1979/80.
The official handover will take place on Tuesday, 25th October at the Museum, being taken there from the league offices in Birmingham where it has been on limited display since a new championship trophy was commissioned in 2015 when the Football Conference was rebranded as The National League.
The National League is very pleased to loan the trophy for display so a wider football public can view it. After all the trophy has a relevant place in the game and will always be a tangible reminder of when major reorganisation of the non-League game came about in 1979 into a fully national based competition, thus opening up a direct promotional route to the Football League, discarding the unpopular voting system of entry to the history books of the game.
Barnet FC were the last club to be presented with it after becoming champions in 2014/15; and in so doing setting a record of winning it for a third time, thus ably demonstrating that promotion and relegation on the field of play had become an integral part of the modern game.