Exposé: Inappropriate statues coming to a football ground near you
At the start of April, a truly horrific, jaw-dropping sight for sore eyes pitched up outside Craven Cottage: the massive erection of Michael Jackson. Less a statue and more a 6ft tall marzipan birthday cake your nan proudly rolled into the room on your birthday after three months hard labour.
OTP hates to be the bearer of bad news, but Fulham will not be the last Premier League club to unveil a granite-based retina-abusing monstrosity this season. A simple look through various council-planning applications reveal that at least two Premier League clubs – who wrangled for so long over the purchase of the Olympic Stadium – are now turning their attentions to statues that make Peter Beardsley look well-chiselled.
West Ham United
According to Newham Borough Council, the Hammers have tabled a bid to unveil a 20ft statue of iconic pornstar Ron Jeremy outside the Boleyn Ground this summer. An insider explained that owner David Sullivan’s former-career as a pornography entrepreneur inspired the choice of statue: “Jeremy is the Pele of porn and his popularity gave Sullivan’s industry a real lift in the 1970s. Plus he watched a game between West Ham and Swindon Town in 1993 too, albeit in a Las Vegas hotel. Via a window reflection. For approximately three seconds.”
According to the minutes of a West Ham board meeting, a glow-in-the-dark 80ft sculpture of Scott Parker being crucified on the cross was also on the cards, but the directors agreed there were more appropriate ways to honour the sacrifices that the tenacious midfielder has made for the club.
But as East End sculptor Tommy Giblets – commissioned to produce the Ron Jeremy piece – explained to OTP, the project has been hampered by a lack of finances from the get go.
Giblets said: “It was all going well. I had Jeremy’s bottom half done – just wearing a thong and nothing else. It was beautiful and tasteful. But then we had a cash-flow issue, and with relegation looking likely, the budget was slashed. I was a torso short of a completed final piece.
“Luckily, Chelsea came to my assistance. They had a torso of our gaffer Avram Grant knocking about in storage. Apparently it was made as part of a potential Champions League final celebration back in 2008. Their tearful loss was West Ham’s gain.
“Sure it’s a bit of a cut and shut job now, but it kind of works and I think the fans will really like it. It’s pretty much Michelangelo’s naked statue of biblical hero David – just a bit podgier, grumpier and hairier. It’s my masterpiece.”
In the wake of their failure to secure the Olympic Stadium as their new premises, the Tottenham boardroom have clearly remained bullish. For the last few years their attempts to secure planning permission for a new stadium in North London have been silenced by a sceptical Haringey Council.
The argument appeared to be over, until Spurs found a stunning loophole. In a remarkable twist in the saga, Tottenham have been given the green-light to build a statue replica of an 80,0000-seater stadium that will cost £300m to build.
Considering that unveiling a statue involves considerably less red-tape and planning permission than building a ‘real’ stadium, it would appear that Tottenham are cynically attempting to hoodwink the Haringey authorities. This is a charge that Daniel Levy has stringently denied: “It’s a simple as this: I, the board, that bearded lad from The Apprentice and the fans just bloody love stadiums and their beautiful architecture. Their character, their ability to embrace a vibrant atmosphere and phenomenal gate receipts are all things that any right-thinking human being should appreciate.
“It is only right that we express our affection for these pillars of footballing history by building a statue of one immediately next to White Hart Lane. Certainly the statue will be made out of exactly the same materials as a modern day stadium and also have a pitch laid down, but that is purely an attempt to most accurately capture the spirit of a stadium.”
Inside track on other PL statues in the murky pipeline:
Jewel and doner kebab encrusted statue of Andy Carroll completed just before transfer-deadline day. Owner Mike Ashley expected to have it melted down unless the pony-tailed Jonas Gutierrez can “grow five inches, down his bodyweight in jagerbombs and have the potential to be the best talismanic Newcastle striker since Alan Shearer”.
In a subtle apology and invitation of return, Roman Abramovich has commissioned a gold-plated statue of Jose Mourinho depicted as Neo, ‘The One’ from the Matrix. The structure will have a pneumatic mouth, which will open on the hour every hour saying: “It’s all about the eggs. No eggs, no omelette.”
In a bid to align themselves with fellow icons of the 20th century, statues of Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela were given the green-light for a place at Old Trafford. Controversy broke out when a breakdown in communication with the artist – coincidentally a Manchester City fan – resulted in the creation of Winston Bogarde, Marlon King and Ryan Nelsen statues instead.
A United PR spokesman stated: “It’s not ideal, but those three guys are still young. They might yet play a decisive role in a world war and/or break down racial prejudices on a global scale. All is not lost.”
A 30ft statue of a rooster to be erected at Ewood Park for Christmas 2011. An homage to the animal that is the source of the Rao brothers’ great fortune. The Blackburn supporters group is set to protest against the owners with ‘Get your cock out’ signs.