The New York Stadium, Rotherham, on Wednesday 19 February 2014
In 2014 Rotherham United will celebrate a very special anniversary that will bring a positive national focus on the town and will attract interest from football fans and players all over the world. This year will mark the 125th anniversary of Arthur Wharton signing for Rotherham Town in 1889 to become the world’s first black professional footballer.
On 19th February plans were announced for a statue that will be sited at the New York Stadium to mark the achievements of this remarkable man who pioneered the way and created a heritage for black footballers in this country.
Renowned sculptor Graham Ibbeson, who has created world famous statues including those of Eric Morecambe, William Webb-Ellis and Don Revie, will sculpt the statue and a bronze maquette was on display at the launch.
This project has the support of Rotherham United Football Club and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council as well as football players and football administrators throughout the Country.
The supporters of Rotherham United and the local business community in the area will be actively involved in the project and the ‘Rotherham Sporting Guild’ has already attracted an initial level financial support for the statue.
Other fundraising initiatives will include The Arthur Wharton Golf Day, The ‘125’ Football Match Challenge, The Arthur Wharton Tribute Dinner, Sponsored Plaques and a range of supporter events throughout the community.
Cyrille Regis, Former England International and FA Cup Winner plus legendary Manchester United European Cup Winner Alex Stepney were in attendance to lend their support to this exciting initiative.