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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 April, 2003, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Statue to football legend unveiled
Jim Baxter
Jim Baxter: Football legend
Chancellor Gordon Brown and a host of sporting stars have gathered in Fife to unveil a statue commemorating Scottish football legend Jim Baxter.

The specially-commissioned statue and memorial garden to the former Raith Rovers and Rangers player will be unveiled in his hometown of Hill o' Beath.

Baxter died at his home in Glasgow on 14 April, 2001 after being diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of February.

The 80,000 cost of the statue was raised by a series of fundraising events.

Budget briefcase

A special dinner attended the chancellor, a long-time Baxter fanatic, and a galaxy of stars from the world of football raised much of the funds needed to complete the bronze statue.

The chancellor even donated a replica of his budget briefcase for the auction that raised over 10,000 alone.

The statue was created by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott.

It will be set in an ornate garden and will be floodlit.

I suppose he will always be remembered for the game against England in 1967 when he played keepy-uppy with the ball.
Denis Law

The chancellor said: "One of my earliest memories of football is supporting Jim Baxter at Starks Park when he played for Raith Rovers.

"Jim was one of the greatest players this country has ever produced and went on to represent his country with distinction.

"I deem it a great honour to be involved in honouring Jim in this way. The courage he showed in the final months of his life was a mark of the man."

Former Scotland team mate Denis Law said: "It's lovely to see Jim honoured. His passing was a very sad loss for everyone. I suppose he will always be remembered for the game against England in 1967 when he played keepy-uppy with the ball.

Cheeky character

"To beat the world champions on their own ground was mainly down to Jim Baxter."

Ex-Celtic captain Billy McNeill commented: "Jim put Hill o'Beath on the football map. He was a typical cheeky, confident type of character.

"But he had enormous ability and I think Rangers spotted that more than anyone else."

In his playing career Jim Baxter won 34 caps for Scotland. He played for Raith Rovers, Rangers, Sunderland and Nottingham Forest before returning to Rangers.

He played 254 games for the Ibrox club and scored 24 goals.

He retired at the early age of 30.

His drinking, gambling and womanising were legendary and when asked if things would have been different if he had earned the astronomical wages of today's players, Baxter was as candid as ever.

"Aye, I would have gambled 50,000 a week on the horses instead of 100."


SEE ALSO:
Final farewells to legend Baxter
20 Apr 01  |  Scotland
Baxter: a God-given genius
15 Apr 01  |  Scotland
Baxter: simply sensational
18 Apr 01  |  Scotland


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