A new statue built in honour of the late Don Revie will be unveiled in Leeds in Autumn 2011. Although there’s no confirmation as to where the statue will be located, the sculptor, Graham Ibbeson has already made a start on the tribute and those responsible for the idea are progressing quickly.

TSS emailed those behind the fundraising efforts for more on the fundraising and received plenty of information back from the chairman of the Don Revie Tribute, Jim Cadman.

What instantly struck me was the professionalism with which the fundraising efforts are being undertaken. This isn’t just your average fans initiative heavy on desire and love, but lacking in organisation and the necessary know how. Instead, what we have is an experienced fundraiser and sculptor working together with the backing of Leeds City Council and Leeds Civic Trust who are determined to ensure the project is a success.

Although no money has yet been raised, the artist’s studio has already been located and he will begin work on the statue in clay. The Don Revie Tribute have underwritten the cost of the initial work to get things moving as quickly as possible.

Attention will now turn to the fund raising efforts and a host of events featuring Leeds United players past and present. The events confirmed so far include a Theatrical Tribute to Don Revie and a Gala Dinner at Elland Road, with players from Don Revie’s team invited as honorary guests. The group also plan to release a special one-off tribute magazine featuring tributes from his former players and closest friends.

The total amount required for completion of the statue is £90,000, but the fundraising won’t stop there. Any surplus funds raised from the events will be used to fund a ‘Don Revie Research Project’ into the Motor Neurone Disease which Revie suffered from in later life.

Alongside the fundraising efforts, the Don Revie Tribute group will also be allowing the local community to watch the sculptor at work. Strictly by invitation only, the Don Revie Tribute will invite school children, art students and supporters to come and see the artist at work in his Leeds studio.

The Scratching Shed will be keeping up with all the latest developments as the statue is created and will keep you updated right here.

Graham Ibbeson

Eric Morecambe by Ibbeson

Graham Ibbeson lives in Barnsley and has completed statues across the country, including perhaps his most famous piece, comedian Eric Morecambe which is pictured right and was unveiled by Her Majesty the Queen in 1999.

Other works completed by Graham include a statue of comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy and one of his most recent works, cricketing legend Fred Trueman which was unveiled in Skipton earlier this year.

Historian and writer, Brian Elliot said the following of Ibbeson’s work;

“No, I’m not comparing Ibbeson to Michelangelo (I can hear Graham laughing in the background) but his creations mean more to me. They make me laugh. They make me think, and I must admit several of his mining commissions make me cry. Isn’t that what good art is all about? Graham’s devotion to capturing the spirit of the people appears in all his sculptures which is why they communicate so well with ordinary folk. His work is in many private collections and public museums around the world but many also serve as highly accessible public art sited in public places for all to enjoy”

You can see more of Graham’s work on his website here.

Don Revie

What appeals to me most about the project is the chance to relive and celebrate Don Revie’s wonderful achievements again. His impact not only on Leeds United FC, but the city of Leeds as a whole can’t be underestimated. The club honoured their greatest ever manager when renaming the Kop, but a statue is something long overdue.

Although not born and bred in Leeds, Revie became an adopted child of the city. He brought success and fame to a northern city where before there was little to celebrate. He made Leeds United not only a household name, but a name that was feared throughout all Europe. The statue will stand as a lasting tribute to all that he achieved and what he means to the people of Leeds.

Jeff Powell, Chief Sports Feature Writer, Daily Mail;

Throughout what became known as the club’s Golden Years, Leeds played some of the most wondrous football ever seen in this motherland of the game. They also reinforced their flowing talents with the fiercely competitive challenges which were born of an iron will to win. Their critics, especially those who envied their success, protested against their aggressive commitment to victory. With hindsight, it can be seen that Revie was pioneering all over again. Just as The Revie Plan in his time as a player with Manchester City took the blinkers off English tactics, so he laid the foundations for the Premier League football we witness today, a furious game in which even the most refined skills can only prevail if they come driven by physical courage.