Stephen Timms backs listing iconic Champions statue
07:00 19 October 2016
Stephen Timms says there are “good grounds” for getting the Champions sculpture listed after seeking advice from a heritage organisation on how to do so.
In a letter to Historic England on October 6, seen by the Recorder, the East Ham MP wrote both he and community members are “anxious for it [statue] to be a lasting memorial to the links between Boleyn and West Ham United (WHUFC)”.
It follows a five-month campaign to keep the iconic monument in Barking Road, a move supported unanimously by Recorder readers back in June.
Mr Timms said: “A lot of us feel very strongly that the statue at Upton Park is an important part of our local culture and an important memorial – and significant element – of the Boleyn neighbourhood.
He added it “merited” looking into a listing in order to stop the Bobby Moore statue being moved to the Olympic Park in Stratford.
Boleyn Ward Cllr Veronica Oakeshott said she “really welcomed Stephen Timms’ efforts to get the statue listed”, while Doreen Hoadley, chair of WHUFC supporters’ club, called the letter a “brilliant idea”
A spokeswoman for Historic England said a listed building or structure “usually has to be over 30 years old to be eligible” and “careful selection” of applications under that time frame would be required.
A Newham Council spokesman said any decision to move the statue is “not one the council would take lightly”.
He said: “Currently no decision has been made regarding the possible moving of the sculpture and any such decision would need to be made through a future cabinet meeting.”
A spokesman for West Ham said that players and fans alike had expressed “overwhelming support” for it to move.
He added: “The Champions statue has always been a joint venture between West Ham and the borough of Newham, and we believe that the relocation of the statue should take place as planned, and should become a source of great pride to us all at our new home.”