Sporting Icon: Celebrating Football’s Moments in Monuments  

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.”

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Football West CEO James Curtis steps down to usher in new leadership

Football West

Football West have announced that James Curtis will be stepping down from his position as Chief Executive Officer, after more than five years in the role. As he makes his transition, Football West have now commenced their succession planning.

The decision taken by Curtis reaffirms Football West’s dedication as an organisation to fostering long-term growth through the benefits provided by leadership succession.

Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes praised Curtis’ strong leadership and commitment to delivering a long-term legacy for football in Western Australia, since commencing in the role in 2016.

“James has been an outstanding CEO and his focus on driving long-term growth, investment and community benefit have contributed to a bright future for football,” Andrawes said.

“His commitment to working with all parts of the WA community and government to engage with football and being a leader driving diversity, inclusion and engagement has ensured football is positioned well for the future of the game.

“With significant achievements including funding for the long-awaited WA State Football Centre, securing the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in WA and establishing the Football Futures Foundation, there have been many successes during his tenure.”

Curtis conveyed that it was the right time to step down from the role and to transition leadership, with Football West strongly positioned for leveraging record growth.

“We have built a great team across Western Australia that is well positioned to continue building on our strong foundations. After more than five years in the position and rebuilding from the impact of COVID-19, we are ready for a new CEO to implement and deliver our future strategy,” Curtis said.

“I have enjoyed working closely with our Board and our valued partners across government, corporate and the football community to deliver major milestones for the game in WA and establish strong partnerships across Asia for WA football.

“We have a vibrant and passionate football community that will continue to grow on the back of strong clubs and volunteers and our dedicated Football West team.”

Curtis will continue his involvement with football as a Non-Executive Director of Football Futures Foundation – which is chaired by Nick Tana, and supporting the transition to find the new CEO.

Football West has commenced an internal and external search for the company’s next CEO.

Football Victoria promotion denial set for challenge

Football Victoria has announced that it will only be filling existing vacancies, resisting the challenge from the United Football Group of Clubs to push ahead with promotion and relegation.

Football Victoria has announced that it will only be filling existing vacancies, resisting the challenge from the United Football Group of Clubs to push ahead with promotion and relegation.

Football Victoria announced the cancellation of the remainder of the season in Metropolitan Melbourne on September 3 2021, in which it also revealed that promotion and relegation would not proceed.

Since that announcement, over 40 clubs had joined forces, assembling under the United Football Group of Clubs (United Football) banner, to challenge the decision.

As revealed by Soccerscene last month, United Football made a formal submission to Football Victoria, presenting three options for consideration by the board:

  1. Promotion and Recognition of Champions based on current standings or points per matches played method, with or without relegation.
  2. Restructure of the leagues to achieve the desired effect of promotion/relegation, completed in line with the 2021 Football Australia Performance Gap Report.
  3. Align with Football Victoria principles and fixture the outstanding games between teams who have not played against each other to complete the season and award promotion and relegation. Given the current COVID situation, it is recognised that this may be the least likely scenario.

In its announcement this afternoon, Football Victoria has seemingly turned down all three options.

“Football Victoria (FV) can confirm it will proceed with filling existing and resulting vacancies across our Men’s and Women’s State League competitions, in accordance with the 2021 Rules of Competition,” reads the statement on the Football Victoria website.

“Under item 10.4 in the Men’s State League (1-4) and item 15.7 in the Women’s State League (1-4) 2021 Rules of Competition, the FV Board confirms that vacancies will be filled using the Order of Merit process. Men’s & Women’s State League 5 competition vacancies will be filled by using the New Club Application or Team Entry process.

“With the 2021 season being deemed incomplete, only Men’s and Women’s State League vacancies will be filled in 2022, with NPL Victoria optimal league structures to be considered from the 2023 season.

“Average Points Per Game (total points divided by number of games played) at the point the 2021 season was cancelled will be used to determine final ladder positions in 2021 and inform the Order of Merit. Further detail on the Order of Merit process is available here.”

The ruling means that the current NPL Victoria structure will remain in place, whilst in the State Leagues below, only existing vacancies will be filled.

In the Men’s State Leagues, one team across State Leagues 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be promoted, whilst four teams will enter State League 5 via a new club application process.

In the Women’s competition, one team will be promoted from State League 2 to 1, two will be promoted from State League 3 to 2, three teams will be promoted from State League 4 to 3, four teams will be promoted from State League 5 to 4, whilst five new clubs will enter State League 5 via a new club application process.

The Football Victoria statement sets a deadline of 5pm Monday October 25, 2021 to implement these changes.

The United Football Group of Clubs met last night to discuss the decision, with chairperson Zak Gruevski confirming the clubs intend to take the matter further.

“The Football Victoria statement yesterday effectively dismissed the range of options put forward by the United Football Group of Clubs,” he told Soccerscene.

“As a group, we are very disappointed and believe this decision is not in the best interests of the game, particularly given indications that a restructure of the game was being considered as a reasonable outcome.

“Our clubs met overnight and we are seeking the appropriate counsel to pursue this matter further.”

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