The Sporting Statues Project recently updated and published their latest list of sporting statues from around the world.
Including in their extensive website collection are a fabulous collection of footballing statues from across the globe, many located here in the UK.
The project has been going since 2010 but the latest full footballer list, published on 7 April, was picked up by the national press recently.
Helping the project behind the scenes is Ffion Thomas who graduated from University of Sheffield in 2010, and in January 2013 undertook a Ph.D at the International Football Institute at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) on the use of nostalgia in the visual culture of football.
The From Pitch To Plinth: The Sporting Statues Project was inspired by a chat between Dr John Wilson and Dr Chris Stride from Sheffield University. John had taken a huge number of photos of British football statues, and was interested in the background behind them. Chris, as a statistician, football fan and avid collector of things, was then keen to find out exactly how many there were. Ffion was recruited to the team, who then set out to catalogue the UK’s football statues, with the aim of perhaps a magazine or journal article.
Found among the many statues is the famous bronze of Sir Tom Finney outside Deepdale. The Splash.
Dr Chris Stride said the erection of statues to sporting greats was a very recent phenomenon.
“There were just a handful, maybe four or five that had been erected before 1980 and then maybe another 10 before 1995.
“Suddenly there has been about 100 of these statues built of sports people in the last 15 years.”
He found the surge in footballers being depicted in statues was mainly down to the football clubs appealing to nostalgia and “basking in reflective glory.
“Sports people are seen as celebrities, they never used to be. The sort of people who would have been statue subjects, such as politicians and people of the church and royalty are less popular now,”
The Tom Finney statue can be found on the From Pitch To Plinth: The Sporting Statues Project site with photos by this very reporter!
What do you think about Sir Tom’s statue, The Splash? Let us know in the comments below