TWO of Sheffield United's greatest servants will be immortalised when their statues are officially unveiled at Bramall Lane before the new season.
The club is honouring former chairman and all-round Sheffield soccer hero Derek Dooley and the club's leading appearance maker, Joe Shaw. Sculptor Paul Vanstone was asked to create a lasting, fitting tribute to the former Blades stars. "This had been an excellent project but I had probably underestimated the scale of it… As time went on, with the statue of Joe in particular, I had to work from black and white pictures of him during his illustrious days in the red and white shirt of the Blades.
"I went back and did at least six re-models of the head alone – it became all time consuming but I always knew that Derek being such a familiar personality would come easier – that really did fall into place very quickly" Derek's statue, left, is portrayed strolling out on to the pitch as the Blades celebrated promotion back to the Premier League in the final game of the 2005/06 season, hand aloft acknowledging the cheers of United fans. Derek's widow Sylvia, said: "The statue of Derek is absolutely amazing. I've seen so many pictures of Derek over time but nothing really compares to this. Paul has done an excellent job – the statue is so big and I'm looking forward to it being unveiled. I'm so thankful to Sheffield United for this tribute – it just brings it home how much of a football legend Derek was and how much he is missed." Joe Shaw's widow Hettie and her daughter Yvonne also made the journey down to the foundry in the East End of London at the same time as Sylvia and were overwhelmed by the statue of Joe.
Supporters can have their name etched on the plinths of the statues for 50.