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.

Graduates congratulated after completing FIFA Diploma in Club Management program

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has congratulated the 2024 graduates of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management course at FIFA headquarters, which include former Socceroo Tim Cahill and former Manchester City player Fernandinho.

Since its launch in 2021, the FIFA Diploma in Club Management has become a networking platform for senior club executives to share knowledge about the industry insights essential for successful football club management. The 18-month course is comprised of six-course models, each covering important topics and aspects of club management.

The topics which are covered in this course are leadership and management, sporting strategy and youth academies, marketing and communication, club operations and stadium management, governance and legal matters and finance.

Infantino spoke to the attendees of the graduation ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland:

“The course’s aim was to encourage knowledge and best practice exchange to be able to ensure football’s continued growth and health worldwide,” he said in a statement.

“You understand that club football is crucial for the development and the survival of football in all countries of the world.

“That is what we have to foster and what we have to work on, and to do this, you have to be well-equipped and well-prepared, and this is our aim at FIFA: to give you this preparation, to give you this equipment, to open the doors of FIFA here in Zurich and everywhere in the world.

“Our doors are open for you to come and exchange with us, and also to exchange between yourselves.”

The graduates of the second edition of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management started back in September 2022 in New York where they attended lectures given by the likes of FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger and FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Berman and their final project of the course was a strategy plan which was presented before the graduation.

The third edition of the program began in May 2024 and is headed by FIFA Director of Professional Football Ornella Desirée Bellia. Some of the participants who are involved include former Juventus player Giorgio Chiellini and Como 1907 coach Cesc Fàbregas alongside club owners, CEO’s and sporting directors.

Soccerscene celebrates sixth-year anniversary

Soccerscene is celebrating its sixth anniversary as Australia’s business-to-business publication for the football community.

Since its inception, Soccerscene has committed to the highest standards of reporting on the most pressing topics surrounding the world of sports business. We have been the first port of call for potential buyers and sellers and deliver all the first-hand news – including interviews, discussions, product reviews, case studies and insight into all facets of the growing Australian and international football market.

Here at Soccerscene, we can’t celebrate six years without thanking all our readers, followers and the numerous industry and club communities for helping us along the way.

Special thanks goes to our major partners including Football Coaches Australia, Professional Footballers Australia and Box2Box – your constant support has been crucial to all we have achieved over these last six years.

Thank you to everyone and we are excited for the future years ahead in this constantly developing industry – from all us at Soccerscene.

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