Neighbours hand footballer's garden art red card

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The Independent Online

An artistically-minded Championship goalkeeper was forced to cover up his garden masterpiece after neighbours deemed it a red card offence.

Derby County's Stephen Bywater created the installation - complete with blow-up doll and spray-painted portable toilet and horse box - in the garden of his home in the Derbyshire village of Sutton-on-the-Hill.



But it left nearby residents feeling sick as proverbial parrots. And when his club failed to back-up his artistic endeavours, he bowed to critical opinion and covered up the work.



It is now hidden under a layer of tarpaulin.



The neighbourly dispute reportedly began late last year, after the Rams keeper began to construct his installation at the home he shares with wife Zoe.



It consists of a horse box daubed with graffiti proclaiming "piece & love", bed mattresses, a traffic cone, portable toilet block and rubber sex doll.



A 75-year-old neighbour told the Derby Evening Telegraph: "It is horrible. We were away on holiday when he put it up. Our neighbours sent us pictures to show us what he had done and my wife didn't want to come home."



At one point, officers were called in following complaints from those living nearby, the newspaper reported.



And it appears that his club also failed to see the merit of his artistic creation.



In a statement given to journalists, Derby County said the club "completely disassociates itself with this type of behaviour".



"This is not the type of conduct we expect from one of our players," it added.



In response to the disapproval of neighbours and club bosses, the 29-year-old footballer has now put the artwork under wraps.



He also said sorry to those offended by the work.



Mr Bywater said: "In the light of the recent media coverage, I have decided that it is the best course of action to completely cover over my artwork.



"It has never been my intention to cause any upset to any of my neighbours. Art is a hobby of mine and it is being practised in the confines of my own home.



"Now that the artwork has been covered, I hope this will bring an end to the matter."

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