A CITY sculptor whose bronze statue of Denis Law was unveiled in Aberdeen last year is backing calls for one of the Famous Five – and says he’d love to make it.
Lawrie Reilly, the last member of Hibs’ legendary forward line, died on Monday, sparking demands for a permanent memorial to the five.
• Buy your copy of the Evening News today for your free Famous Five supplement.
Alan Herriot, a lifelong Hibs fan who has produced countless sculptures in his 36-year career, estimated a bronze statue of the quintet could cost up to £200,000 and that the image used on the front of yesterday’s Evening News would be roughly the right model.
“But I think there should be a football in there somewhere,” he added. “It’s a brilliant idea, it should have been done years ago. I would be extremely interested in the commission. I’d love to do it.”
Mr Herriot said the figures would have to be larger than life, but didn’t think there would be a problem finding a place to put the statue.
He said: “Easter Road has a good ground, there should be some really high-profile area they could get.
“It’s just a question of the cost involved in a project like this and who is going to raise the money.”
He said the statue itself might cost around £160,000 without a plinth and excluding VAT, which he said might not be an issue because of the nature of work.
In addition to Denis Law, Mr Herriot’s other works include a large equestrian bronze statue of King Robert the Bruce for Aberdeen, a Highland Division Piper at the entrance to The House of Bruar in Perthshire and a bronze memorial to Bamse, the Second World War Norwegian sea dog at Montrose.
He is about to start on a statue of Private Wojtek, the Nazi-fighting brown bear and pride of the Polish infantry who saw out his final years in an enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo, but he said doing the Famous Five would be extra special.
He said: “I’ve been a Hibs fan since my dad took me to Easter Road when I was three. He would have me on his shoulders. There were so many Hibs fans in the terracing you could feel the pressure, getting pushed against the rails.”
Support for a statue to the Famous Five – Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond – has crossed the Capital’s football divide.
Depute council leader Steve Cardownie, a well-known Hearts fan, has said a statue would be “entirely fitting”. He said: “These are people whose fame reaches far beyond Edinburgh and Scotland. I’m sure the council would like to be involved and would do everything it could.”
Support has also come from Ted Brack, who co-authored Lawrie Reilly’s autobiography. He said: “It would mean everything to the fans and to the families of the Famous Five.”
The club said the statue idea would have to be considered “further down the line”, but confirmed Lawrie Reilly’s passing would be marked at tomorrow’s Europa League tie with Malmo, with a minute’s applause and the players wearing black armbands. A further celebration is planned for the league opener against Motherwell.