This is it. Alas, Michael Jackson Statue, we hardly knew ye. We had some laughs though, didn’t we? I know I did. We’ll remember you for the good times. Times when the mere mention of you could shrivel the will of a gloating Fulham fan from 50 yards. When your shining, magisterial daftness gave us pause to appreciate the oft neglected greenness of our own grass. But most of all, for reminding us of a time when billionaire owners were cuddly, whimsical creatures to be viewed with baffled amusement, rather than ruthless dead eyed financial dopers to be viewed with suspicion, contempt and a healthy dose of fist shaking.
As this once proud colossal action figure and cautionary monument is tragically relocated to one of Big Fay-Al’s other, more gaudy establishments, it’s only natural to wonder what can possibly take it’s place?
Fancast has compiled a list of suitable candidates. The great, the good, and the mystifyingly terrible.
1. Zidane & Materazzi – Paris.
This charming ode to an act of violence and the lowest moment in the career of it’s subject, was erected outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris and seems to depict Jason Statham rutting with a Weeping Angel from Dr Who. Zidane, who is unknown to have a sense of humor, or indeed more than three facial expressions, has failed to comment, but Marco Materazzi, embracing his inevitable role in history as ‘the guy who got nutted by Zizou’ has visited the sculpture, and even tweeted a picture of himself sitting on his own bronzend foot.
2. Bob Stokoe – Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Sunderland manager Stokoe’s jiggy jog across the Wembley turf after his 1973 FA Cup final victory over Leeds is one of the indelible images of the decade. Unfortunately, the image of the decade it’s immortalization tends to conjure now is of dated raunchy sex comedies in which middle aged men in flasher macs try to ‘amusingly’ force themselves on women. The stoney unflinching nature of the statue does nothing to dampen the feeling it was probably taken from sped up footage set to a jaunty trombone.
3. Tony Adams – The Emirates, London.
In the tried and trusted tradition of sporting statues, Arsenal commissioned their recent homages in iconic “action” poses. When it came to former captain and stalwart defender Tony Adams, their options were fairly limited. Despite wisely opting against the alternative “apologetic press conference” pose, the finished article of Adams’s famous goal celebration looks more like a coming out announcement from the Chocolate man out of the lynx adverts.
4. Diego Maradona – Naples
This terrifying monstrosity lurking in a Neapolitan alley way is apparently Diego Maradona. I take this on faith because by the looks of it, it could be anything. An urban scarecrow. A melting Bobby Ball. A graven backstreet tribute to the pagan God of sexual assault. It’s sunken expressionless face looks like Michael Myers in a Fellaini wig and it’s bizarre child bearing hips make even it’s gender questionable. Somehow this androgyny only serves to make it more frightening.
5. Sir Alex Ferguson – Old Trafford, Manchester.
It was inevitable that Fergie would one day be honoured in sculpted metal outside Old Trafford. Few could’ve foreseen that he would be so as an eyeless chocolate John Nettles. The decision to depict him in all his raggedy coat & fleece combo splendour may have seemed apt at the time, but will eventually make him look like an angry, muddy dad on the Fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square. Always depict managers in a suit. Always.
6. Gunnar Gren – Gamla Ullevi, Gothenburg.
This tribute to the legendary Swedish forward – 1/3rd of the Gre-No-Li partnership at AC Milan – gives less the impression of a majestic forward in his prime, and more of a camp eczema riddled pensioner being hit in his gammy leg by a cannon ball.
7. Sir Bobby Robson – St James Park, Newcastle.
Wor Bobby is one of the few people to have two statues erected of his likeness in different cities. Only one of these cities can genuinely lay claim to having a likeness. Newcastle’s effort, whilst getting the crucial suit wearing basics right, falls down by placing it on the frame of a cartoon Charles Bronson, staring wistfully into the distance as if trying to remember if he’s left the gas on.
8. Brian Clough and Peter Taylor – Pride Park, Derby.
Never one to be outdone, Brian Clough has three statues. Befitting a man of his ego, Old Big Head has three big old heads on display in Middlesbrough, Nottingham and Derby. The former two are perfectly good, but the latter, depicting him and Peter Taylor (channeling Liz Taylor) grasping the First Division trophy, has something bizarrely anciently oriental about it. Like someone’s slapped wigs on two deserters from the terracotta army.
9. The Holy Trinity – Old Trafford, Manchester.
As you reach the end of Sir Matt Busby Way, a giant, awe-inspiring stone triumvirate greet you, majestically overlooking The Theatre of Dreams. It’s just a shame that triumvirate appears to be Patrick Stewart, Billy Brag and an evil Cillian Murphy.
10. Carlos Valderrama – Estadio Eduardo Santos, Santa Marta, Colombia.
This magnificent statue of everyone’s favorite Columbian hair Carlos Valderrama, may merit inclusion into a list of amusing statues, but that shouldn’t detract from it’s brilliance. This statue is glorious. It’s huge, it has lifelike golden hair, it seems to be doing some kind of disco come boyband ballad pose, it’s utterly wonderful in every way. It’s quite possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.