Ten years on from “Aguerooooooooo!” And Manchester City’s first Premier League title win, the club unveiled a statue of their former striker yesterday at the Etihad Stadium.
Aguero’s iconic stoppage-time winner in their 3-2 victory against Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the 2011-12 season will be remembered forever by City fans, so it is only right that he has been immortalised in galvanised steel.
But who deserves a statue at your Premier League club? And who will be next at City?
We’ve asked our Premier League club reporters to explain their choices and if you think they’ve got it drastically wrong then please let us know in the comments…
The next statue to grace the walkway around the Emirates Stadium is reportedly already in the works: Arsene Wenger is understood to have given his approval to a likeness being cast in his image. He will join Tony Adams, Herbert Chapman, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry in having a sculpture mounted at Arsenal’s stadium. It will be intriguing to see which iconic player or moment Arsenal next look to immortalise in bronze: perhaps Abou Diaby nearly kicking John Terry’s head off in the 2007 League Cup final?
This month, Villa celebrate 40 years since winning the European Cup, so the heroes of Rotterdam would be the obvious choice. Or Paul McGrath. I don’t remember either, though, so I’m going with Olof Mellberg. Villa haven’t had too many true Premier League heroes — the best players usually move when they get a better offer — but the mighty Swedish defender is a true B6 legend. Either him or Mustapha Salifou.
During Brentford’s rise from League Two to the Premier League over the last three decades, there has been one constant — Kevin O’Connor.
He joined the club’s academy in 1995 and made his first-team debut in February 2000 at the age of 17. He stayed with Brentford for his entire playing career and helped them achieve promotion on several occasions, including from League One up into the Championship in 2014. When he officially retired in 2015, he became a member of the backroom staff and he thrived as the B team’s head coach before he was promoted to first-team assistant coach under Thomas Frank in 2018.
His unwavering loyalty to Brentford will always be cherished by the fans.
Bruno Saltor or, as everyone in Brighton calls him, just Bruno.
Next month marks 10 years since he signed from Valencia. He captained the promotion-winning team from right-back and signed off in Manchester City’s title-clinching 4-1 win at the Amex in May 2019 (Aguero was on the scoresheet for a change).
Now he’s part of Graham Potter’s coaching team, concentrating mainly on attacking. They’ve just embarrassed his good mate Juan Mata with that 4-0 thumping of Manchester United, so he must be doing something right!
Ah, why not? He’s already got a pub named after him so a statue must be next on the list for Sean Dyche. Without him, Burnley would not be in the position they are now through his work over nine and a half years, building the foundations to get and keep the club in the Premier League against the odds for so long.
Although I do wonder if Fulham’s Michael Jackson statue might be available?
There is no greater example of the esteem in which Frank Lampard is still held by Chelsea supporters than the adulation he receives after hurting their team on the pitch.
The first ovation came from the Blues away fans after he scored Manchester City’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw between the teams at the Etihad Stadium in September 2014, the second after presiding over a vital 1-0 win for Everton at Goodison Park earlier this month. The love born of a club-record 211 goals, 648 appearances and 11 major trophies is unconditional, and undimmed by his sacking as manager in January 2021.
He is Chelsea’s greatest-ever player.
It has to be Wilfried Zaha, although Steve Coppell deserves an honorable mention.
Zaha has stepped up for Palace time and again. More than a decade since his debut, 82 goals and almost 450 appearances, an occasional stand-in captain who guides the club’s young players and an academy graduate whose impact on the club is unrivalled.
Everton should build a statue to whoever makes the definitive contribution to keeping them a Premier League club.
Sure, that may result in a previously unthinkable epitaph to Alex Iwobi, Salomon Rondon, or even Fabian Delph — who knows? Perhaps it’ll be a marble rendering of Jordan Pickford gurning after another inspired save?
Either way, it will be a monumental contribution and suitable of a monument for whoever delivers the goal, or makes that all-important intervention.
Just maybe give the statue wheels, eh?
The Athletic wanted 50 words for this but for anyone who knows Leeds United, two will suffice: Eddie Gray.
Jamie Vardy, Leicester’s greatest striker of the Premier League era, would be an obvious choice, but which pose to choose? Stood proud in front of away fans, hands cupped to his ears in defiance? The eagle dance? The wolf howl? The sliding in and smashing the corner flag? Or playing a corner flag like an electric guitar?
Better still, how about after he broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record for scoring in consecutive games — with arm in cast in full stride, pointing to his chest as he screams: “It’s all me, it’s all fucking me!”
Ulla Klopp standing on a bin.
— OhMeOhMy_Liv (@OhMeOhMy_Liv) June 2, 2019
It would have to be a hell of a player to get a statue alongside Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and David Silva. Not only were they great players for City but they were bona fide legends, too, players who helped change the club’s history. So who could come next? It would have to be somebody who helps them win the Champions League, one would imagine, and somebody who’s been at the club for around 10 years. Kevin De Bruyne signed seven years ago now.
Roy Keane would hate having a monument and some United fans would pause before giving Wayne Rooney his flowers, so Eric Cantona is our suggestion. The Frenchman was the catalyst in the club’s transformation to Premier League megaforce. Imagine his celebration against Sunderland on a slowly rotating plinth.
Kevin Keegan would certainly be a popular, and very worthy, candidate. However, it remains astonishing that Joe Harvey, the most recent Newcastle manager to win a trophy, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969, has not joined Jackie Milburn, Sir Bobby Robson and Alan Shearer in being awarded a statue out St James’ Park , with the latter now rightly moved inside the stadium boundaries.
Not only was Harvey an excellent Newcastle manager between 1962 and 1975, achieving promotion in 1964-65 and reaching the FA Cup final in 1974. And all this after making 224 league appearances for the club as a defender, captaining Newcastle to successive FA Cup victories in 1951 and 1952.
Nobody can be more worthy of a statue.
It wouldn’t be a yellow and green yo-yo. It would wind up most of the Championship (pun intended).
Many have had success but Dave Stringer remains unrivalled. He finished on 499 appearances as a player and helped earn the club’s first promotion to the top flight in 1972. He led Norwich’s Under-18s to FA Youth Cup success in 1983 as manager before taking the first-team job, where he achieved fifth and fourth-place finishes (both the club’s highest finish at the time) as well as two FA Cup semi-finals (Norwich have only ever appeared in three).
Many have flourished, but Stringer will always endure.
Matt Le Tissier would be an obvious candidate to have a statue built outside St Mary’s. After all, he is Southampton’s greatest player. But Markus Liebherr is just as worthy for how he saved the club from going bust in 2009.
He died from a heart attack a year later and never got to witness Southampton go from the brink of oblivion to the Premier League. Without him, there may not have been a football club and he is held in the highest regard by supporters.
There are quite a few options for Tottenham given their glittering history, but my personal vote would be former captain and all-round great bloke Gary Mabbutt.
Already loved for his commitment and class as a player, Mabbutt continues to be a brilliant ambassador for the club in retirement. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mabbutt made phone calls to more than 3,000 elderly or vulnerable Spurs fans. In February he visited a hospice to see a very unwell young boy whose dream it was to meet a Tottenham player past or present.
A man and player desserving of a statue.
There are many deserving candidates to join Graham Taylor as statues outside Vicarage Road — Luther Blissett? John Barnes? Troy Deeney with his shirt off after that goal? Maybe even Elton playing a grand piano?
For me, however, there is one man who heads the queue above all others and that is Lloyd Doyley. Arms aloft, a look of simultaneous joy and disbelief on his face after scoring his first goal for the club in his 269th appearance with that unforgettable diving header against QPR. The most of the unlikely heroes finally get his moment.
It would sum up everything that is dear to me about Watford FC.
David Cameron Walker
Mark Noble is most desserving of a statue outside the London Stadium. In fact, he also deserves the keys to Stratford given what he’s done for east London.
If you were to look for the definition of legend in the dictionary, a picture of Noble will appear. The boy from Canning Town is an inspiration to many.
When you think of important figures in Wolves’ recent history who’ve helped elevate them to almost unimaginable heights…
Neal Maupay’s goal for Brentford against Fulham that pushed Wolves over the Championship promotion line in 2017? Oh.
Well, how about Gabriel Jesus for his two goals in Man City’s 6-0 FA Cup final win over Watford in 2019 which meant Wolves would play in Europe for the first time in almost 40 years? Hmm, maybe not.
Come on though, there’s no argument — Steve Bull, outside the stand which bears his name, in the aeroplane hat-trick pose.
Get it done.
(Photos: Getty Images)