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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 March 2007, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Bates statue taken down by Saints
Saints legend Ted Bates and his statue
Bates, who died in 2003, and the statue at Southampton
Southampton have pulled down the statue of Ted Bates a week after it was unveiled because fans complained it looks nothing like the Saints legend.

Saints fans criticised sculptor Ian Brennan's 102,000 statue, a tribute to ex-Saints player and manager Bates, who died aged 85 in November 2003.

The existing statue may now be altered or completely reworked.

Chairman Leon Crouch said: "Ted was Southampton Football Club and we owe it to him to build a fitting statue."

Crouch added: "With hindsight some things could have been done differently, but this is not a time for recriminations. Let's just sit down and put things right.

"I'm a perfectionist and I want it to be just right. 'Mr Southampton' deserves that."

Brennan has apologised to supporters and insisted that he would have liked more time to work on the project.

He said: "This was more than a commission, it was a passion. I'm sorry some supporters don't like the result."

Bates spent over 60 years at Saints and critics of the statue claim the body, legs and arms are out of proportion and the facial likeness is a poor one.

One angry Saints fan, Dave Hunt, told BBC Sport: "It's an absolute abomination and the worst thing is, it looks more like former Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric.

"A lot of people have put in a lot of effort to raise the money for this and I think they deserve better. Certainly, Ted deserves better."

Ted Bates' statue
Critics claim the statue of Bates is out of proportion

The statue was unveiled on St Patrick's Day by Bates' widow Mary and it stands in front of St Mary's Stadium.

A club statement said: "Although the Trust and Ian Brennan share the disappointment of the fans over the finished version they are upset with some of the over-the-top comments.

"They are hurtful to the family and to those who worked so hard on the project."

Bates' daughter Jackie said: "Dad's statue represents an artist's impression of Ted.

"It was commissioned by the Trust with the club's support and if they feel it needs to be removed for further work, then we are perfectly happy for this to happen."

Saints fan Brennan had to rely on photographs to obtain a likeness of Bates.

He told the Southern Daily Echo: "Sculpting from photographs is not the cleverest way of doing it.

"Madame Tussauds would never work from photos alone because it is difficult to get the 3D effect."

Former cabinet maker Brennan has sculpted professionally for more than 20 years and commissions from the Royal Household are among his 90 previous projects.

He added: "I'm a Saints fan through and through and I have worked 10 hours a day, seven days a week on this project.

"I am very sorry a number of supporters do not like the end result and I would be happy to work with the Trust and the club to resolve any issues."

SEE ALSO
Southampton 1-2 Colchester
16 Mar 07 |  Championship
Saints mourn Bates loss
26 Nov 03 |  Southampton


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