Football: Wembley plan tribute to Sir Alf

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The Independent Online
THE INSTALLATION of a permanent memorial to Sir Alf Ramsey, the World Cup-winning England manager, at the new National Stadium is to be discussed by the Football Association, it was announced yesterday.

Members of Sir Alf's 1966 side, including Sir Bobby Charlton and Alan Ball, have led the calls for England's greatest manager to be recognised for all time when Wembley is renovated. The most likely possibility seems that a statue of Sir Alf, who died last Wednesday, will be built, although there could instead be a room named in his honour at the new stadium.

Steve Double, the FA spokesman, said: "We will be discussing in the coming week or so what can be done to provide a fitting memorial for him."

Ball believes that the new Wembley would be the perfect venue to commemorate a manager whom he felt was never given the proper recognition in his latter years for his unparalleled achievements. "I was so disappointed that he was allowed to fade away. There is no way that he should be forgotten, and it would be a fitting tribute if they did something at the stadium," Ball said.

Ball's call was backed by the leading FA councillor, David Sheepshanks, who paid tribute to Sir Alf's achievements not only with England but also with Ipswich, whom he led to their only League title.

Sheepshanks, the Ipswich chairman, who is a candidate for the vacant FA chairman's post, said: "Personally speaking, I would be very pleased to see him properly remembered for all time at the new National Stadium in some way."

A similar proposal, for a statue of Sir Alf at Portman Road, is being considered by the East Anglian club. Sheepshanks added: "Everyone connected with Ipswich Town joins me in sending our deepest sympathies to Lady Ramsey and all his family. As much as we mourn his passing, it's important that we celebrate properly the remarkable life and achievements of a truly extraordinary man."