Not many of us will stay in one job longer than a quater of a century, well unless you class being on the dole for 25 years a job? If I did manage to love a job so much so that I did manage this feat, I would want a pretty good present. In reality most of us would get there and probably get something like a clock that looks like it is straight out of the Argos catalogue or was stolen from a classroom wall. Worse still, a photo album celebrating all those years earning someone else a pile of cash. What a load of rubbish…thanks for nothing.
In football things are different…forget clocks, watches, cards or gift vouchers, this type of shizzle in football gets real. Manchester United decided that not only would they name a whole stand after SAF, but commission award-winning sculpter (RIP Tony Hart) to cast him in bronze. This 9ft statue of Fergie will make him immortal and look younger…its a pretty good deal.
Rather than look back at Fergie’s 26 years with a box of tissues in hand or go through endless quotes saying how great he is, we decided to fill you in (not in that way!) with a tour around the legendary statues of Britain.
Knowledge is power, power=a win in the sports section of the pub quiz, so take a look!
1) Sir Matt Busby. The legendary Scot had Warwick Road North renamed after him in 1993, but didn’t live to see the unveiling of his statue in 1996, which now overlooks Sir Matt Busby Way outside Old Trafford’s East Stand.
2) Bobby Charlton, George Best, Denis Law. The “United Trinity” statue was unveiled on the 40th anniversary of the club’s first European Cup and, fittingly, placed across the road from the statue of the man who developed them into legends of the game.
3) Brian Clough. A larger than life character, Old Big ‘Ed has a larger than life legacy as well, with not one but three statues in his honour. The first, portraying Cloughie celebrating, was erected in Nottingham city centre and unveiled in November 2008, followed almost two years later by a statue of Clough and Peter Taylor outside Pride Park in Derby.Middlesbrough, Clough’s hometown, also honoured the prodigal son with a statue.
4) Billy Bremner. Voted Leeds’ greatest ever captain and player, the fiery Scotsman had a statue portraying him in a celebratory pose erected on the South East corner of Elland Road, a lasting tribute of his popularity among Leeds’ fans.
5) Bill Shankly. Perhaps Liverpool’s greatest ever manager and definitely the first to put the club on the map in Europe, Shankly’s statue was erected in 1997 outside the Kop portraying him with open arms – the same pose he adopted so often when receiving applause from the fans.
6) Peter Osgood. A tribute to “The King of Stamford Bridge” that for Chelsea fans had been a long time coming was finally unveiled outside the West Stand in 2010 in order for the majority of match day going supporters to see it.
7) Billy Wright. Wolves’ legend Wright witnessed the completion of a stand at Molineux that was renamed after him, but died before the unveiling of the statue in 1996. It’s fair to say that Wright’s statue is by far Molineux’s best feature.
Sir Stanley Matthews. The Britannia is notoriously a trip very few clubs relish, but the tribute to Sir Stanley Matthews makes it worthwhile. The statue, or rather the three statues, portraying Matthews at different stages of his career was unveiled in 2001.
9) Bobby Moore. The new Wembley has attracted more than its fair share of criticism in his relatively short life. From delays during the building process to a perceived lack of atmosphere Wembley might failed to live up to its predecessor reputation, but it’s graced by a statue of Bobby Moore looking down Wembley Way, a fitting reminder of the traditions embodied in English football
England’s only World Cup winning captain is also immortalised outside Upton Park along with Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson in the famous victory scene after the 1966 World Cup final.
10) Herbert Chapman, Tony Adams and Thierry Henry. It’s not often that football figures are immortalised in statues before they leave this world, let alone if they’re still playing. Such is Adams and Henry’s popularity with Gunners fans that they both bucked the trend and joined former manager Herbert Chapman’s bronze counterpart outside the Emirates Stadium, as part of the celebrations for the club’s 125th anniversary.
11) Sir Bobby Robson. A football-loving man and a football-mad city, Robson and Newcastle were always going to be a perfect match. Robson managed Newcastle for five years and was honoured with a statue outside the south-west corner of St James’ Park last year. Sir Bobby is also immortalised outside Portman Road, a tribute to his Ipswich Town days.
12) Ted Bates. One of Southampton’s greatest ever servants, Bates had a statued unveiled in his honour outside St.Mary’s in March 2007. After widespread criticism from the fans who bemoaned the lack of proportion and resemblance to Bates, the statue was replaced 12 months later.
13) John Greig. Voted “The Greatest Ever Ranger” in 1999, former Rangers player and manager Greig was immortalised in a statue outside Ibrox Park, with a plaque commemorating the 66 victims of the 1971 Ibrox disaster.
14) Sir Tom Finney. Arguably one of the most complete footballers of his generation, Finney’s statue welcomes visitors to Preston’s Deepdale. The statue, unveiled in 2004 and known as “The Splash”, was inspired by a picture of Finney in a pool of water at a Chelsea-Preston game in 1956 played after a huge downpour.
15) Johnny Haynes. Fulham legend Haines had a stand named after him at Craven Cottage in 2005 before a statue was unveiled outside the West London ground three years later. Haynes could have never imagined that he would one day be joined by a tribute to Michael Jackson outside the same ground.
16) Sir Alf Ramsey. England’s only World Cup winning manager took Ipswich from Division Two to Division One champions within 12 months before taking on the England job. His achievements at Portman Road were not forgotten and a statue in his honour was unveiled in 2000.
17) Jock Stein. The first manager to guide a British club to European glory, Stein also won nine league titles in his 13 years at Parkhead and in 2011 was honoured with a statue outside the ground portraying him holding the European Cup.
18) Jimmy Johnstone. One of the “Lisbon Lions”, Johnstone was honoured with a bronze statue outside Celtic Park in 2008, before another statue was unveiled three years later at the inauguration of the Viewpark Memorial garden on the site of Johnstone’s former school.