Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 13:12 UK

Swans' legend memorial unveiling

Luke James at the unveiling
Luke James stands in front of the memorial to his father

A memorial to former Swansea and Wales football legend Robbie James has been unveiled at the city's Liberty Stadium.

Fans have raised nearly 7,000 for the bronze bust of the midfielder who played almost 400 games for the club.

The tribute was the idea of his teenage son Luke who was joined by many of his father's team mates from the John Toshack era at Saturday's ceremony.

Swansea-born James, who also won 47 Welsh caps, collapsed and died while playing for Llanelli in 1998, aged 40.

The memorial, which will stand near the stadium's ticket office, was unveiled at 1230 BST before the newly promoted Swans' home match against Leyton Orient.

Luke James said: "I just wanted something so everyone would remember him.

Robbie James
It just shows how he was thought of not just by the fans but by the players
Phil Sumbler, Swansea Supporters' Trust

Phil Sumbler, Swansea Supporters' Trust

"At the start I did not know how it would go but many people have really helped and I would like to say a big thank-you to them."

He is planning to make a short at the address at the unveiling.

"I'm very proud. I'm looking forward to it but I'm a bit nervous as well.

"I've seen it (the bust) and I'm really pleased with it. When I saw it I was gob smacked - it looks exactly like him."

Former players

The appeal was backed by the Swansea Supporters' Trust which helped organise fundraising events.

The trust's Phil Sumbler said many of James' former team mates from the Swansea team of the late 1970s and early 1980s, which won promotion to the old First Division, would be attending the unveiling.

"It just shows how he was thought of not just by the fans but by the players," he added.

He said he was hoping as many Swans supporters would turn out as possible for the ceremony.

"There is already a statue of Ivor Allchurch [at the Liberty Stadium] which was done by Supporters Trust and it's only fitting there's now a memorial to Robbie James."

As well as playing for the Swans, James had spells with Stoke, QPR, Leicester, Bradford and Cardiff.

He was player-manager at Llanelli when he died.

A stand at Llanelli's Stebonheath ground has already been named in honour of the player.


SEE ALSO
Memorial planned for soccer star
10 Oct 07 |  South West Wales
Swansea honours its Gentle Giant
06 May 07 |  South West Wales
Swans unveil Allchurch monument
15 Oct 05 |  Swansea City

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