A tribute to Sunderland’s sporting heroes has become the latest backer of the Portfolio awards.
The Fans Museum is right behind this year’s search for the best in Wearside and County Durham businesses - and firms which make it to the grand finale can find out for themselves what it is all about.
Guests at the awards finale will be treated to a display by the Museum of around 50 mannequins, and possibly “a hall of fame of big name players,” said Michael.
He said he was “very excited to get on board with the awards” and added: “It is supporting local enterprise.
“What I do is all about the community and supporting events like this. It is highly important. It mirrors what I do and what the museum is all about.”
Lifelong Sunderland fan Michael is behind the Fans Museum which is set to move into a new dedicated home at the city’s Monkwearmouth Station Museum later this year.
I am very excited to get on board. It is supporting local enterpriseMichael Ganley
The collection includes everything from shirts, tickets, footballs, medals, cups plus the table and chairs from the boardroom at Roker Park.
Michael’s collection, which he first started displaying back in 2014 - the year Sunderland AFC reached the League Cup final at Wembley - has been seen by more than 100,000 visitors of all ages.
Now comes a new stage in the museum’s development with the planned move and Michael said: “As soon as we get the keys, it is full steam ahead.”
He urged people to get on board as volunteers and said: “We are taking over a beautiful building but it needs a considerable makeover.”
He said thousands of pounds of repairs were planned and added: “We want to get it breathing again.”
Michael’s collection has spent three years on the road visiting various events and charity fundraisers across the region.
But now it is about to have a new home and in the meantime, people can get a glimpse of what it is all about at the awards finale.
Make it Sunderland is again our headline sponsor, and will sponsor our overall Business of the Year Award, as well as a Lifetime Achievement award, which is in the sponsor’s gift.
Make It Sunderland is also backing the contribution social enterprises make to the city in the Social Enterprise Award. Other sponsors are Northumbrian Water, TTR Barnes, BIC, Sunderland BID, The Bridges, Sunderland College, Wessington Dental, Gentoo, Station Taxis, Creo, The Fans Museum, Stagecoach North East and JB Skills Training.
The deadline for entries has now passed.
The next stage is for the judges to draw up a shortlist. Then it is on to the grand final at the Stadium of Light, on Thursday, October 26.