The Sports Diary: Breaking the mould with statues of mockery

Captured in bold, athletic endeavour, some of these monuments of neatly hewn reverence have stood the test of time. Which is more than can be said of the gaudy, ghoulish monstrosities which get chiselled out these days.

The latest addition to this hall of shame arrived this week with the well-documented and much-maligned statue of Liverpool hot-shot, Mo Salah, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Leo Sayer standing in a particularly stiff breeze.

Fitba’ and grisly carvings tend to go hand in hand. The appalling bust of Cristiano Ronaldo, which was unveiled at Funchal airport on the Portuguese superstar’s home island of Madeira in 2017, just about sparked one of the biggest aviation disasters in history as pilots guffawed themselves into a mass nose-dive.

You could’ve probably fashioned a better model of Ronaldo from a tin of Ronseal wood stain and a bit of raw ginger.

Many moons ago, Sir Matt Busby was asked how he went about creating a football team. “A sculptor was once asked how he managed to turn a square slab of stone into, say, an elephant,” reflected Busby.

“He said, ‘easy, I just knock off the bits that don’t look like an elephant’.” Funnily enough, that’s what Jim McLean used to say about Davie Dodds.

Over at Rangers, meanwhile, erstwhile gaffer, Pedro Caixinha, at least demonstrated his keen eye for a solid structure that bore an uncanny likeness to an inanimate objet d’art. That’s right, it was Carlos Pena …

*“Knight Rider. A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist.” And no, it’s not Marvin Compper?

That little voice over was from the 1980s hit TV show starring David Hasselhoff. The Hoff was spotted pottering around Edinburgh this week wearing a Partick Thistle top.

In his Knight Rider pomp, Hasselhoff would career about in a Pontiac Trans Am called KITT, which, fittingly, sounds like a word used to describe Thistle’s current form.

*At this rate, the coin-throwing epidemic sweeping through Scottish football will soon lead to a lucrative sponsorship deal with the Royal Mint.

The slack-jawed halfwits responsible for such hurlings are still dealing in, well, small change, however.

In 2001, a group of Inter Milan fans got a Vespa scooter into the San Siro, set it on fire and tried to lob it onto the field.

And brassed-off Barcelona boo boys tossed a pig’s heid at their former hero, Luis Figo, when he turned out for Real Madrid.

Forget coins, though. The most damaging thing to land on a Scottish pitch was Rafael Scheidt when he was thrown on as a Celtic substitute …

*A match made in heaven? If you thought Billy King joining Rangers was apt, then Bradley Stokes signing for non-league side Bradley Stoke Town FC will take some beating.

“The secretary thought I was taking the p***,” said Stokes. This got the diarist thinking of other appropriate link-ups. Arsene at Arsenal? Wolfgang Wolf at Wolfsburg?

We await the day when Joey Barton takes over at Peruvian club Deportivo Wanka …

*Olympic gymnast, Louis Smith, has announced his retirement at 29 and will head for the razzmatazz of London’s West End.

As part of an all-singing, all-dancing celebration of the swinging 60s, Smith will join a troupe for a 16-week run of the show ‘Rip It Up’.

Strangely enough, rip it up is what a wincing diarist thought I’d done when I recklessly tried one of Smith’s cocked-leg pommel horse birls …

*Food glorious food. This week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge in shimmering Sun City may boast a whopping prize fund of over $ 7 million but those in attendance also get to fill their boots with a culinary experience being championed as one of the best in the sporting world.

“I don’t think there is any other golf tournament out there that puts this much effort and research into food and beverage,” cooed the Sun International Group’s executive chef, Ronald Ramsamy.

The diarist would beg to differ with that assertion. The egg and chips served up at the Palacerigg Husband & Wife Perpetual Salver is par excellence …

Back in ye olden times of yonder year, cobbling together a statue of some bloke in the scuddy was as common an occurrence as, well, unbridled public nudity.

Those Ancient Greeks, for instance, could nonchalantly amble past a spare clump of limestone that was kicking about the Athenian Acropolis and swiftly winkle out a sculpture of a scantily-clad discus thrower before you could utter the words, “it looks like he won it by a long chalk?”

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