The FA have unveiled plans for a bust of England World Cup winning manager, Sir Alf Ramsey, to sit in the tunnel area at Wembley Stadium.
Sculptured by Philip Jackson, the artist behind the iconic Bobby Moore statue that looks over Olympic Way at Wembley Stadium, the bust of Sir Alf was given an official seal of approval from George Cohen at the Edward Lawrence Studios in West Sussex on 15 April.
Cohen, who wore the number two shirt in that famous 1966 win over West Germany, was more than impressed with the sculpture that’s one and half times bigger than normal size: “It’s tremendous and it’s like he’s actually in the room with you. That determined look on his face is exactly how I remember him and tells you exactly who was in charge.
“When you were in the presence of Sir Alf there was a definite sense of ‘Gentleman, we’re here to do business’ and the sculpture really captures that feeling.”
Having also sculptured both the Matt Busby and the United Trinity statues that stand outside Old Trafford, Philip Jackson was delighted to take on another football project: “My thinking behind it all was to create something that will inspire the current national team and, at the same time, put the frighteners on the opposition!
“Sir Alf was well known for being firm and was a very strong individual so I hope those steely qualities come over through the sculpture.”
Jackson revealed that he researches his subjects thoroughly before commencing work in his studio: “It’s a bit like writing a book and it’s definitely a case of collecting all the reference material before starting.
“You need to know the person you’re dealing with especially with someone like Sir Alf Ramsey who was so well known.
“It’s important to get the character of the man through photos, film and just talking to people who knew or worked with him.
Cohen hopes that the Sir Alf Ramsey sculpture will have an effect on the current England team when they’re standing in the tunnel before kick off at Wembley Stadium: “Up and coming players will see the bust and realise that Sir Alf is the most successful international manager in English football history.
“He was a disciplinarian but it was something that we all responded to because his attitude was first class.
“Sir Alf won us the World Cup and it came at a time that allowed football in this country to really flourish.”
The sculpture will now be cast into bronze at a foundry in Kent before being unveiled to the world at an upcoming England international.