Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Football Art: The United Trinity

"Who are they?" asks the young boy in a Mancunian accent, coming out of the Megastore with two bulging carrier bags and a newly bought shirt, Rooney 10 printed on the back. "They're famous United players from the 1960s," his dad replies, pointing his finger through a gap in the wire fence. "Oh," he says, his voice betraying a rapid drop in interest. "The Trinity," his father goes on, unheard. "Best, Charlton and Law..."

Unveiled in 2008, forty years to the day from Manchester United's first European Cup win, the bronze statues were deliberately placed directly opposite the elevated scupture of Sir Matt Busby, facing the Megastore entrance and the glass facade of Old Trafford's East Stand. Designed by Philip Jackson - who also did Busby and the statue of Bobby Moore outside the new Wembley stadium - Law is at the centre, frozen post-goal, right arm and index finger held aloft. Best and Charlton form a photograph huddle, arms draped around the scorer, socks pulled up to the kneecaps and a leather ball placed casually in Charlton's hand like a scroll in the palm of an ancient Greek orator.

For Charlton, present at the unveiling along with the other surviving members of the 1968 team, the accolade was "a fantastic compliment...one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me". "To just think as the years have gone, starting as a young boy of 15 coming down from Scotland," recalled Law, "and many, many years later you've got a statue outside Manchester United's ground." "George was always telling me," said his sister, "when I'm gone they'll forget the rubbish and I'll be remembered for the football."


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