I live in West Auckland, home of the first football World Cup and a renowned statue that inspired me to choose my favorite football statues.
1. Tony Adams: Mr. Arsenal
Tony Adams M.B.E., born in 1966, spent his professional career of 22 years playing solely for Arsenal. Historically their most loyal and greatest player, he was a naturally gifted defender that steered the team into winning three FA Cups, two League Cups, and the UEFA Cup.
In 1988, at only 21, he became team captain. He remained so until his retirement 14 years later. He achieved the accolade of the captain of a team winning both the League Cup and FA Cup double. In total, he played a staggering 668 matches for Arsenal plus 66 times for England. He was without question was the most effective captain in the club's history.
The statue of Tony Adams sculpted by MDM ltd stands outside the Emirates Stadium and was unveiled by the Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood in 2011.
There is something that you put into the figure that gives it a life that is other than your own and I think that is an extraordinary thing to be able to do. It’s like a little bit of magic. The process is fascinating and I think that’s what keeps me constantly working—you are constantly trying to magic something outside yourself.
— James Butler
2. Johnny Haynes
Born in London, Johnny Haynes (1934–2005) signed up with Fulham in 1950 at only 17 years old. He joined the main team two years later. Debuting for the senior team in 1954, he played for Fulham for 18 years, up until 1970. This was where he spent his entire England football career. He holds the club record of playing 657 games and scoring 157 goals.
The Brazilian player Pele described him as the best passer he had ever seen. He became an early star of televised football matches on the BBC network. Playing inside forward, he was noted both for his skill on the ball and his team leadership qualities. Therefore, he captained the England team on 22 occasions. In 1961, he was the first English player to be paid a £100 pounds a week (how things have changed).
Sadly, he sustained many injuries both from the game and a serious car crash and was not selected for the England team that won the World Cup in 1966. When his career ended in the United Kingdom, he joined friends and teammates in South Africa, where he continued to play.
The statue sculpted by Douglas Jennings was unveiled in October 2008 at Fulham football club home-ground at Craven Cottage by Mohamed Al Fayed.
3. Sir Billy Wright of Wolverhampton Wanderers
Billy Wright began his career at the age of 14 playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers. At 15, he was in the first team where he stayed until his retirement in 1959. While he was team captain, the Wolves won the 1949 FA cup and the first division league title three times.
He was captain of the England team in 1948, earning over a 100 caps in his international career. He was awarded the C.B.E. in 1959. Following retirement, he managed the England youth team before taking over as manager of Arsenal from 1962–1966. The Molineux stadium has a stand named after him.
The statue was sculpted by James Butler and unveiled in 1996 by Billy Wright's widow Joy Beverley-Wright, who is famed as a member of the singing group the Beverley Sisters.
4. Sir Stanley Matthews: The Wizard of the Dribble
Sir Stanley Matthews, C.B.E. (1915–2000) was one of England’s greatest players. He played in top flight football until nearly 50 years old and played in competitive games until age 70. In his final game, he played for the England veterans against the Brazilian veterans.
He started work at age 15 at Stoke City, and at 17 he signed up for Stoke City football club the Potters. He played there until 1947 before moving onto Blackpool Rovers and then returning to Stoke city in 1961. At age 38, he played in the 1953 FA cup final where he was hailed as the inspiration that brought Blackpool back from a possible 3-1 defeat to a 4-3 victory.
The statue was sculpted by Colin Melbourne and stands in the town Centre at Hanley. Sir Stanley Matthews was born in Hanley, and he unveiled the statue in 1987.
My captain, my leader, my right-hand man. He was the spirit and the heartbeat of the team. A cool, calculating footballer I could trust with my life. He was the supreme professional, the best I ever worked with. Without him England would never have won the World Cup.
— Sir Alf Ramsey describing Bobby Moore
5. Bobby Moore O.B.E.: World Cup Team Captain
Bobby Moore, OBE (1941–1993) played for West Ham United. He was the team captain and was also the captain of the England team who won the 1966 World Cup.
Bobby joined West Ham United in 1956 and played in the first team from 1958. In 1963, Bobby captained England, and in 1964 he captained West Ham when they won the FA cup. The following year, they won the European Cup Winners Cup.
Following the winning of the World Cup, he was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and he was granted with an OBE. After 15 years with West Ham, Bobby left and joined Fulham and played his final game in 1977.
The Bobby Moore Statue sculpted by Philip Jackson, stands outside the entrance of the Wembley Stadium and was unveiled by Bobby Charlton in 2007. Prime Minister Tony Blair and footballer Sir Geoff Hurst attended the ceremony.
6. Wilf Mannion: The Golden Boy of Boro
Wilf Mannion (1918 - 2000) played for Middlesbrough, and was an England international. He was called the "The Golden Boy" because of his blond hair.
He joined Middlesbrough football club in 1936 and earned 26 caps playing for England. Retiring in 1954, he did return for a short time to play for Hull, Poole, and Cambridge.
In 2004 he was added into the English Football Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum.
The Statue sculpted by Tom Maley stands at the Riverside Stadium and was unveiled in 2000.
7. Stan Mortensen: Morty the Hat-Trick Man
Stan Mortensen (1921- 1991) played for Blackpool F.C and is famous for scoring a hat-trick in the 1953 FA cup beating Bolton 4-3.
In 1947 he played his first game for England against Portugal and thumped in four of the goals in a 10–0 win. A year later he scored another hat-trick against Sweden. He also played for England 25 times.
He spent nine years at Blackpool, and then signed for Hull City, Southport, Bath City and Lancaster City. Following retirement in 1967 he became manager of Blackpool until 1969. Rumor has it; that in order to help out the club during a time of financial hardship he sold his football medals to raise finance.
In 1983 he became vice-president of the club
Stan died in 1991 and in 2003 he was posthumously instated into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his talent and achievements.
The statue sculpted by Peter Hodgkinson was unveiled on 23 August 2005 by his widow, Jean, and former player Jimmy Armfield. It stands behind the Bloomfield Road's North Stand, which also bears his name.
8. Jackie Milburn: Wor Jackie
Jackie' Milburn, (1924 – 1988) played for Newcastle United and England. Following his football career he became a well-known football journalist for the News of the World.
Jackie grew up in Ashington north of Newcastle. Although he was a Sunderland fan, he signed for Newcastle United after responding to a club advert for young talent.
After the Second World War he became a pivotal player in the team and Newcastle won the FA cup three times in 1951 1952 and 1955. He also played 13 times for England. Milburn left Newcastle in 1957 and joined the Irish club Linfield where he both played and coached the team.
Jackie died in 1988 at the age of 64.
In 1988, Newcastle United named their new West Stand at St James' Park the Milburn Stand. There are two statues of Jackie. One stands on the main street in Ashington. The other having been moved twice now stands close to St. James' Park in Strawberry Place.
The statue was sculpted by Susanna Robinson and was unveiled in 1991 by Jackie's widow Laura and footballer Jack Charlton.
9. George Hardwick: Gentleman George
George Hardwick, (1920 – 2004) played as a defender for Middlesbrough from 1937 to 1950 Following World War 2 he became team manager and he also played for England 13 times.
Owing to a knee injury George stepped back from top flight and international play, and followed instead the path of a player manager. Clubs such as Oldham, PSV Eindhoven, Sunderland, Gateshead and the national team of Holland benefited from his skills.
He is also remembered for creating the: The George Hardwick Foundation which is dedicated to helping carers, former carers and patients.
The statue was sculpted by Keith Maddison and unveiled in 2000 at the riverside stadium.
It is a sad day and a great loss. He was a wonderful man and will be deeply missed by everybody in the country. I never played for a more enthusiastic man. He gave so much to the game.
— Gary Lineker on Bobby Robson's death
10. Sir Bobby Robson: He Gave So Much
Sir Bobby Robson C.B.E. (1933- 2009) began his career at Fulham in 1950 moving to West Bromwich Albion in 1956 and then back to Fulham in 1962. He played in the England national team from 1957 to 1962. In 1968 he returned to Craven Cottage accepting the job as manager of Fulham and went on to manage several clubs both here and abroad.
During his eight years as England manager he took England to the semi-final of the 1990 World Cup and was later awarded the C.B.E.
In May 2007 following earlier cancer treatments he was again diagnosed with cancer.
In March 2008, he launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation which in turn funded the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, in Newcastle. In 2009 aged 76 Bobby died of cancer.
Sir Alex Ferguson called him a "great friend, a wonderful individual and tremendous football man."
The statue stands at St James’ Park and was sculpted by Tom Maley. It was unveiled in 2012 by Lady Elsie Robson and family.
11. Dixie Dean: Everton's Greatest Goal Machine
Born William Ralph Dean January 1907, Dixie Dean started his football career aged 16 with Tranmere Rovers before moving to Everton FC aged 18 where he played for 12 years scoring 383 goals including 37 hat-tricks. In the 1927-28 season Everton won the First Division Title with Dixie Dean scoring a staggering 60 goals; a record total that still stands today.
In March 1980 aged 73 while watching Everton play Liverpool at Goodison Park Dixie suffered a heart attack and died. He was added to English Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
Player and Manager Bill Shankly OBE said of Dixie Dean "He belongs to the company of the supremely great, like Beethoven, Shakespeare and Rembrandt"
His statue stands at Goodison Park, home of Everton FC and was sculpted by Tom Murphy and unveiled in 2001. It is inscribed, "Footballer Gentleman Evertonian"
West Auckland Football Club Team Tribute: World Cup Winners
Unveiled in 2013 on the Village green at West Auckland in County Durham the statue commemorates the club players winning the World Cup (Thomas Lipton Trophy) in 1909 and 1911. It also pays homage to the coal mining history of the area, and beneath the footballer on the plinth is a second figure of a miner with a pick-axe.
In 1909 playing in the World Cup final at Turin in Italy the West Auckland team made up of local miners beat the Winterhour team from Switzerland 2 – 0. In the 1911 final played at Turin, they beat Juventus 6 - 1 to take the World Cup for a second time.
The statue was designed by artist Nigel Boonham, and was officially unveiled by Sir John Hall, himself the son of a miner and former chairman of the famous football club Newcastle United.
© 2013 Colleen Swan
OSUEBI WINNER on May 26, 2020:
NICE JOB MAM
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on November 02, 2014:
Glad you enjoyed this. I agree that when I update this hub I should add this great man of football.
Peter Davies on November 02, 2014:
Agreed re Clough. His statue also gives me the greatest pleasure as its in the centre of town as though his achievements are appreciated by the whole city & not just its football fans. (Mind you, someone keeps stealing his arrow).
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on November 02, 2014:
Thank you for your kind words and suggestion. Peter Schmeichel was a great goalkeeper and is often on the tele here in the UK. If I extend this article I will keep him in mind.
askformore lm on November 02, 2014:
Thank you for a great hub. I enjoyed it, although I (being from Denmark) am a little disappointed not to find "The Great Dane" Peter Schmeichel.
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on May 27, 2014:
Yes he could well be here, Brian Clough was a great man and personality.
Liam Hallam from Nottingham UK on May 27, 2014:
Disappointed not to see the Statue of Brian Clough OBE (Old Big Ead!) in Nottingham on your list in what he achieved in such a very short time with Middlesborough and then as a Manager with Nottingham Forest and Derby County who were such unfashionable clubs at the time.
Peter Davies on March 13, 2014:
Billy Bremner ...... Seriously
Colleen Swan (author) from County Durham on December 16, 2013:
Thank you rebelogilbert. I wasn't sure if this hub would attract many visitors, but it appears to be gaining popularity.
Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on December 15, 2013:
Soccer fans will love your new article, Colleen. It's amazing how much England and other countries other than the U.S. embraces the sport.