A SCULPTURE depicting a golden moment in sport – and one that led to the formation of a Huddersfield firm – is being auctioned off by its owner.
The artwork shows football legend George Best celebrating his goal in Manchester United’s famous 4-1 victory over Benfica in the 1968 European Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
The sculpture is being auctioned off by Berry Brow man Ian Dickinson, managing director of Emulate Studio. It was the first work of art produced by the firm, which has gone on to create other figures.
They include one showing England’s 1966 World Cup winning team lifting the trophy and another of Chelsea players Ron Harris and Peter Osgood parading the FA Cup following the team’s 1970 final win over Leeds United.
What makes the George Best figure unique is that it is the original hand-painted prototype and the only one carrying the footballer’s autograph.
The work is up for auction via a website – www.theultimatetributetogeorge.co.uk – with a deadline for bids of midnight tomorrow.
Mr Dickinson has set an undisclosed reserve price for the figure. The successful bidder will also get a complete photographic portfolio of the sculpture being produced, as well as pictures of George with the figure.
Mr Dickinson said: “It has taken a great deal of soul-searching to finally decide to sell something that has no equal.
“But the timing just seems so right. This year is the 40th anniversary of Manchester United winning the European Cup for the first time. It’s the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster and it’s seven years since I met George and received his full endorsement.
“It is also another triumphant year for the club, having just won The Premiership title for the 10th time and winning the Champions League against Chelsea.”.
Mr Dickinson said it was George’s reaction to the prototype that led to the setting up of Holmfirth-based Emulate Studio (www.emulatestudio.com) and the production of replica pieces in solid bronze. The George Best figures, which cost almost £500, have been sold across the world.
Said Mr Dickinson: “Somebody somewhere is going to be very lucky indeed. They will be the proud owner of the only hand-painted, signed and fully-endorsed sculpture of George Best available anywhere in the world.
“It is a tribute to a man who was described by Pele as the greatest footballer of all time.
“Now that does take some beating!”