Driving with his Burnley side to the Etihad for Sunday’s FA Cup sixth round, Vincent Kompany is confronted with a familiar image. An image that also recognizes him as one of the key drivers of the revolution that has gripped Manchester City over the past decade. Because there, in a prominent place on the stadium forecourt, is a statue of Kompany, which is important for every supporter of the club.
“There was never a question for me that it had to be this pose,” says Andy Scott, the renowned Scottish sculptor who created the statue. “It was an almost messianic moment. I included it in my first suggestions when I was commissioned to do the piece. And thankfully, Vincent agreed.”
The statue shows the player in a stance that is of great importance to City. It shows him with his arms outstretched and his head bowed, a depiction of his celebration as he scored against Leicester City in May 2019, a stroke crucial to his fourth league title with the club.
But it was also a moment of farewell. He was 34 when he met and knew his 11-year association with Etihad was coming to an end. It was almost his last contribution to the club before he went home to become player-coach at Anderlecht. Now back at City for the first time as Burnley manager, he will be bound to walk past himself as he goes into the ground, forever frozen in a moment of reflection.
“It’s very unusual for a football sculpture,” Scott told Telegraph Sport from his Los Angeles studio. “Most of these are players in action. For me, there was something poignant about that pose that added to its power.”
Scott is no stranger to creating public works of art. His work The Kelpies, two thirty-foot-tall, 300-ton steel horse heads on the bank of a canal in Falkirk, is Britain’s most visited sculpture after the Angel of the North.
Although he has used more conventional materials for football work in the past (he has one outside of Ibrox by John Greig that is made of bronze), the Kompany piece shares a style similar to that of the Kelpies: forged from galvanized steel. Which seems very appropriate to the topic.
“Steel definitely suits him,” says Scott. “And it suits this part of East Manchester with its industrial heritage.”
The sculpture was unveiled at the Etihad in August 2021, the first of a triptych Scott made for the club, featuring images of David Silva and Sergio Agüero. It’s a fine piece of work that blends perfectly with the Etihad’s glass frontage. But surprisingly, it was done without the artist ever hitting his subject.
“I got the commission when Covid started,” explains Scott, who was chosen from a shortlist of three sculptors. “I spoke to him on Zoom but unfortunately it was impossible to sit down with him, not least because I live in the US and there was no way I could fly over. So I processed photos and videos; The club sent me hundreds of pictures.”
He constructed the piece in what was then his Philadelphia studio.
“I just moved to LA last May,” he says, “I went there hoping for some sunshine. But we had the worst winter that can be remembered. It’s raining so hard at the moment that I could have stayed in Glasgow.”
The work was created using the same welded steel mosaic technique that defines the Kelpies. But Scott reckons it’s his position that really enhances his design.
“It was very different in the studio,” he suggests. “It was the club’s idea to place it right in front of a large glass facade. And it’s a great location.
We installed it overnight, and when the ceiling came down at the ceremony, it was one of those pinching moments. I remember standing there and thinking, Holy Moly, that looks cool.”
Even then, he was unable to meet Kompany in person. At the time, pandemic protocols remained in place, preventing players from mingling with the public.
“But I heard from him that he liked it,” says Scott. In fact, so did the City supporters.
“The best part was standing there incognito and listening to the reactions of the fans. It was one of the best days after the installation as I saw people walking by, looking at it and talking about it. They took it so well. They seemed to get the point straight away.”
Scott was later to provide his Silva and Aguero plays, which are now in splendid agreement with Kompany. But whatever his excellence, he has hardly been swamped by other clubs keen to hire him since.
“Football is a fun business and I think maybe they’re so distinctive that people might think, ‘Ah, these are City’s, we want our own,'” he says. “However, I would be happy if the phone rings at another club.”
Perhaps Burnley is indeed in touch now that Kompany’s management is pushing them back into the Premier League.
“From the conversations I’ve had with him, he’s a City through and through, a volunteer manc,” says Scott. “I’m sure he will be conflicted on Sunday. But one thing is for sure, he will want to win.”
After all, as the statue claims, it is a football figure forged from steel.
Source : sports.yahoo.com