The unveiling of a statue outside Old Trafford that depicts Sir Alex Ferguson swearing at the referee in a display of crowd-pleasing petulance whilst pointing angrily at his watch, is signalling the start of a candid artistic renaissance at Premier League stadia.
The artwork, called ‘A Brief History of Extra Time’ has been created to commemorate the Manchester United manager’s contributions to match-official abuse and creative interpretation of Einstein’s maxim on the relativity of time.
In London, Anthony Gormley is already busy creating Chelsea FC a tableau of nine, almost identical, figures negotiating a rapidly revolving door… to represent the nine managers the club has had since Roman Abramovich bought it as a money-laundering exercise, in 2003.
Further north, Damien Hirst is working on a sculpture, called ‘the unknown player’, to be sited outside St James’s Park. The piece, which is suspended in a glass tank filled with fans’ tears, depicts a footballer pushing a wheelbarrow full of gold coins past a crowd of cash-strapped Geordies queuing to renew their season tickets. ‘It represents the love of money,’ said Hirst ‘and the frustrations of playing against a flat back four.’
Meanwhile, QPR’s new manager, Harry Redknapp, has declined the offer of a dedicated artwork at Loftus Road on account of having ‘…too many immobile figures on the playing staff already.’