Created in 2010, ‘Monumental Icons’ was the idea of entrepreneur Garry McBride.
A business model that was very much centred around people, places and products, McBride expanded his vision a year later with the introduction of ‘Sporting Icon’.
The sub-division focused on sport, in particular football, with the aim of immortalising footballing figures in statue form.
However, there’s more to Sporting Icon than just creating statues.
These structures can be the centrepiece of a place and reflect its community, as well as being a visitor destination with its own range of merchandise and memorabilia.
Garry explained to fcbusiness: “We believe what separates our work from that of our competitors, is a combination of highly-detailed artworks and an ability to link people with prominent places. Ensuring both the statue and the destination become immortalised forever.”
Sporting Icon realises that football clubs may face financial challenges if they want to celebrate a hero or special moment in their history.
To address this, Sporting Icon takes a partnership approach with some projects and finds innovative and commercial ways to help raise the funds.
This approach often leads to increased supporter or sponsorship engagement and involvement.
The business uses the finest materials, principles of care and attention to detail, according to McBride.
“In this way, our creations endure themselves through time, showing high levels of detail, which can be viewed from many different angles and in a variety of sources – the result, we deliver emotive power every piece of work.”
Lead sculptor for Sporting Icon Andy Edwards, has celebrated various footballing legends through his work.
This includes Gordan Banks, Pele, Sir Stanley Matthews and the famous 1966 English World Cup winning side.
Last year, Sporting Icon commemorated the life of former chairman of Leicester City Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. He tragically died in a helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium in late 2018. Those that knew Vichai, claimed the piece was so detailed “it feels like he is right here in the room”.
Garry explained: “The process that we undertake to achieve such accuracy in our work, is perfectly illustrated through a commission received recently from Northampton Town Football Club.”
“Having met with club officials, it was agreed we would create a bust and plaque to honour former player and manager, Dave Bowen.
“To start the process, we obtained as much information as we could along with photographs of Dave from various angles and at different ages through his career. The time we invest in research is very much the cornerstone of how we achieve such amazing likenesses of the people we are seeking to represent.
“Gaining information from those that knew a person provides invaluable insight and that really does help make a difference. This could include anything from how they were as a person to the little things that made their life unique – perfectly illustrated by the fountain pen that appears in the top pocket of Peter Taylor’s jacket on the Clough Taylor monument in Derby, apparently always ready to sign next player.
“We also met with Dave Bowen’s son, Barry on several occasions to agree which photograph should be used to inspire the bust. During one such meeting Barry happened to mention that his father was a very happy guy and would always wear a smile on his face.
“So right there and then we adjusted Dave Bowen’s clay bust to reflect exactly the expression that his son so fondly remembered,” commented Garry.
One of Sporting Icon’s first pieces can be found in Derby, outside Pride Park Stadium.
Every time fans attend home matches, they see sculptures of two famous footballing figures, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor.
Garry concluded: “Our work ensures people, places and memories are immortalised forever, which is why our pieces aren’t to be looked at once. They have been with such care they can to be enjoyed and over again, often forming open spaces where visitors can spend time, reflect on and celebrate life.”