Wembley statue contenders narrowed down to six

The Rugby Football League have released the final shortlist of former players who may be cast in bronze outside Wembley Stadium.

The RFL have been granted permission to commission a statue outside the national stadium, and a final shortlist of contenders has been released. The final decision will be made by an independent board of directors, and announced prior to this season’s Challenge Cup final.

The statue will be unveiled before the Rugby League World Cup semi final double headers at Wembley Stadium in 2013.

The list comprises of six different players and options, selected after a public vote and a special panel consisting of fans, journalists, coaches, players, national newspaper editors and MPs. The final six are:

Billy Boston
Eric Ashton
Martin Offiah
Gus Risman
Alex Murphy
A group representation, possibly of all five players or an artist impression capturing the spirit of rugby league

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood thanked everyone who had so far been involved in the process.

He said: “The calibre of candidates on the list is outstanding and the Board have a really tough decision to make. Before we do so, I hope all those people who have not yet made their views known come forward to help us deliver a statue which will make the whole sport proud.”

Former Wigan, Widnes and London Broncos winger Martin Offiah says to even be considered for a statue outside Wembley is an honour.

He said: “There were so many phenomenal players in the reckoning and to have been chosen ahead of them feels very special.

“Wembley Stadium is synonymous with the sport, and its right we should be able to celebrate all that is great about our sport there.”

Offiah scored one of the game’s greatest tries at the old Wembley Stadium against Leeds in 1994, and the image of him kneeling before the Wigan fans after running over 90 metres is an infamous image in Challenge Cup folklore.

Former Warrington, St Helens and Wigan captain Alex Murphy led all three sides to Challenge Cup success. He has never lost at the famous ground and says playing at the venue should be the highlight of a player’s career.

He said: “It is a special venue for me and some of my greatest Rugby League memories have taken place at Wembley.

“I have been lucky enough to play on the famous Wembley turf more than once and even more fortunate to have never lost at the venue.

“You always dream of playing at Wembley, so to have a statue representing the history of rugby league at the stadium is a great accolade for the sport.”

You can leave your feedback to the RFL by emailing wembley.statue@rfl.uk.com before an RFL board of directors makes the final decision.

Video presentations for each player will be shown on The Super League Show throughout July. The videos will also be available on the RFL and Super League websites.

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