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Sir Jack Hayward: Details of Molineux statue unveiling revealed

By Alex Ross | Wolverhampton | Wolves | Published: | Last Updated:

A statue for Sir Jack Hayward will finally be unveiled at the place he called home – on what would have been his 95th birthday.

The bronze sculpture shows the former Wolves owner in his iconic ‘thumbs up’ pose after victory in the 2003 play-off final.

It will be unveiled outside Molineux during a public ceremony on Thursday, starting at 11am.

Speeches will be delivered by club chaplain David Wright, Wolves managing director Laurie Dalrymple and Sir Jack’s son, Jonathan.

Wolves legends Steve Bull, Lee Naylor and Paul Butler – who was captain of the play-off final team – will also be present.

The 10ft statue, which is two years in the making, will overlook the stand that bears his name.

Sculptor James Butler has worked with Sir Jack’s family on the project, having previously created statues of Stan Cullis and Billy Wright, which also stand at Molineux.

He originally produced the statue from clay before it was transferred to the Lockbund Foundry in Oxfordshire, where it was turned into a bronze statue.

He said: “I met Jack on a number of occasions, both watching football at the club and him visiting me to see the jobs I was doing, and I had a very high regard for Sir Jack.

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“I got on very well with him, he had great interest in the statues.

“I’d seen the subject (in this case Sir Jack) on a number of occasions, and that was a great plus.

“I also had a number of photographs in a small book on him, which also proved very helpful when creating a likeness to Sir Jack.

“Sir Jack’s son Jonathan came to OK the likeness and he’s agreed it looks like his father. The family have been very useful for vocal advice.”

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The Sir Jack statue will be unveiled on Thursday

Mr Butler has worked on many big projects around the world. In 1973 he was commissioned to do a statue of Kenya’s former president Jomo Kenyatta.

He has also done a statue for Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis at Wellington Barracks in London.

Before turning to Sir Jack’s statue, he did a portrait statue of the Queen to commemorate the signing of the Magna Carta, at Runnymede Pleasure Grounds in Surrey.

Ben Hilton, from the Lockbund Foundry, said: “Each foundry has their own methods but we’re proud of what we’ve created and its ability to give us faultless casting.

“It takes a lot to impress someone who’s been doing it as long as James has.

“He’s in his 80s and between us we’ve creating something very special. For him to be happy with us is a real statement of success.

“I’ve known James since I started aged 16. He always amazes us with his ability to work in cloth and folding of fabric, the movement he gets into his sculptures is second to none.

“He’s been doing it a very long time and he’s good at it.”

He added: “It’ll outlive any of us, bronze is chosen because of its longevity. It will weather, bronze will not stay the same colour, but I see it being there as long as the club exists.

“I didn’t meet Jack, so I couldn’t comment on its resemblance, but James is a renowned sculptor, you’d find it hard to find someone better than him to create it.

“We’re very proud. The feeling of looking upon the work makes you proud. The whole team will take great enjoyment seeing this piece at its end and viewing it on site.”

The pose of Sir Jack is taken from the the play-off win over Sheffield United.

The project initially caused controversy when it was announced, with fans encouraged to help fund the £250,000 statue.

Barely anything was raised, and the club has made up the shortfall.

Sir Jack gave millions to Wolves and owned the club for more than 15 years, helping return a football club on the verge of insolvency to the top flight.

He sold the club to Steve Morgan.

Molineux St, from the junction of Deanery Row onwards towards the subway entrance, will be closed for the event, from 6am – 2pm.

Access to Sir Jack Hayward Car Parks will be via the Waterloo Road, Whitmore Hill entrance.

Parking will also be available in the Stan Cullis car park to accommodate cars that would usually access the Wanderer Car Park.

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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