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25-11-2009

The statue of Villa man and football pioneer William McGregor makes its long-awaited debut against Spurs on Saturday. Dave Woodhall reports.

Villa Park on Saturday will see more than just a Premier League game. At 4pm, 90 minutes before kick-off (4pm should be an hour after the match starts, but that’s another TV-related story), the president of the Football League, Lord Mawhinney, will unveil the long-awaited statue of William McGregor, Villa committee man and founder of the Football league.

The statue, which was commissioned by the Villa Supports Trust and sculpted by the award-winning Sam Holland, is the culmination of a dream that Villa’s place at the heart of football history should be properly commemorated.

The Trust raised funds, wrote begging letters, rattled tins and buckets outside the ground, held benefits and just stopped short of selling their grannies to raise funds for the venture.

The club chipped in with a generous contribution and have provided the expertise to make sure the statue could be found a fitting home – outside the Trinity Rd stand overlooking Aston Park, where so much football was played during the early years of the organised game and where it can be on 24 hour display. The most important figure in the sport’s history deserves no less.

If you’re going to the match get there early and take a look at proceedings. Remind yourself that football isn’t all about celebrity driven hype and glamour.

Sometimes it’s about ordinary men with big ideas.

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