DCSIMG

Research is a model of world football history

The unveiling of statues of Sheffield United legends Derek Dooley and Joe Shaw at Bramall Lane. Joe Shaw's

The unveiling of statues of Sheffield United legends Derek Dooley and Joe Shaw at Bramall Lane. Joe Shaw's

Sheffield United have got three, but Sheffield Wednesday have not got one.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield have compiled a database of statues commemorating football’s heroes around the world.

They found more than 350 statues of footballers at stadiums or civic sites in 56 different countries spread across six continents, each one logged with information on when they were unveiled, who sculpted them, images, inscriptions and maps.

The most frequently portrayed player, with six statues, is Pelé. There are 125 statues of anonymous football players - and a few of chairmen, broadcasters and fans.

The UK leads the way with 80 statues, including Joe Shaw, Derek Dooley and Jimmy Hagan at Bramall Lane. Despite their long history, Sheffield Wednesday are yet to erect a statue to any player or manager.

Dr Chris Stride, a statistician in the Institute of Work Psychology, said the earliest footballer statue identified, an anonymous player, was found in Copenhagen in 1903. Almost 95% have been created since 1990, and over half in the last decade.

“The primary reasons for this increase are football clubs’ marketing strategies based around branding through nostalgia and authenticity, along with the desire of fans to project their club’s distinct identity in an increasingly globalised game,” said Dr Stride. “Statues are also being erected by towns, cities and commercial organisations, who are seeking reflected glory and identity from their local sporting heritage.”

n www.sportingstatues.com.

 

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