Sport Minister supports legendary footballer’s statue
An appeal for a permanent memorial to legendary footballer Fred Keenor has taken a step forward thanks to £5,000 funding from the Welsh Government.
The funding is to help secure a further grant from Cardiff Council who committed £15,000 towards the building of the statue subject to the appeal raising the balance of their funding target.
Fred Keenor captained Cardiff City FC during their historic 1927 FA Cup win. Cardiff City Supporters Trust is fundraising to erect a permanent statue of the Welshman outside City’s stadium in Leckwith.
The footballer spent almost 20 years at the club from 1912 to 1931, during which time he served in the First World War. After leaving City in 1931 he played for Crewe Alexandra and later Oswestry Town and Tunbridge Wells.
Fred Keenor was capped 32 times for Wales and was part of the Welsh team that won the British Home Championships in 1920, 1924 and 1928.
Announcing the funding Sport Minister Huw Lewis said: “Cardiff City’s 1927 FA Cup win was a historic moment not only for the city but for the whole of Wales. This statute will be fitting tribute to a true Welsh sporting legend and comes at a time when Welsh football at both club and national level is storming ahead.
“I will be in Wembley this weekend cheering on the Bluebirds in the Carling Cup final. I wish the players and coaching staff the very best of luck in the match.”
Executive Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture, Cllr Nigel Howells said: “Fred Keenor is an iconic figure for this city and the image of him lifting the cup is one that is very special for the people of Cardiff.
“I think it is right and proper that we have a statue immortalising Fred and the achievements of the Bluebirds on that very special day back in 1927.
“Fred Keenor was also a prominent Welsh International, winning 32 caps for his country and I am delighted that Cardiff Council is able to contribute towards the building of this statue.”
David Craig, project manager of the Fred Keenor Statue Appeal, said: “We’d like to thank the Welsh Sports Minister Huw Lewis and the Welsh Government for generously supporting the appeal.
“Fred Keenor was not only a Cardiff City hero. who captained the club to FA Cup glory in 1927, but a Welsh legend who skippered his nation to great success at a time when top footballers were not the highly-paid stars they are today. Football fans believe Fred’s remarkable achievements need to be recognised with a statue outside the Cardiff City Stadium.
“We’d particularly like to acknowledge the tremendous support we have had from Julie Morgan, the Cardiff North AM and her colleague, Cardiff West AM Mark Drakeford, who presented our case to the Minister, other Assembly Members that supported us and those fans who contacted the Minister on behalf of the appeal.
“The donation from the Welsh Government, and the £15,000 pledged by Cardiff council, means the fund now stands at £66,000 – just £19,000 from our target. That target will be reduced by several thousand pounds further after this weekend thanks to Cardiff City Supporters’ Club and several independent coach operators who are donating £1 from each fan they take to Wembley for the Carling Cup Final.”