Around the World in 10 Soccer Statues
From Christopher Stride
Welcome to the strange world of soccer statues, of which there are now almost 1000 located around the globe, across over 80 nations, 95% of them erected in the past three decades. I’ll be discussing why clubs, fans and local authorities have acquired this taste for populist, traditional and often kitsch figurative sculpture through ten examples that reference sports marketing, art history, civic identity, mourning cultures, gender, reparations and fan activism.
A statue can tell us as much, if not more about the society that erects it as it can about its subject – so what do these bronze ballplayers say about ‘the soccer world’, its past, and its present?
Dr Chris Stride is an applied statistician and peripatetic statistics trainer/consultant with a sideline in sport history, who is based at the University of Sheffield UK. For the past 7 years he has researched the development of monuments of sports people under the guise of the Sporting Statues Project, resulting in a sprawling online database, several academic papers, magazine articles and a strange array of press coverage, ranging from the New York Times to The Cricket Statistician.