George Best statue artist Tony Currie defends work" width="976" height="549">
Artist Tony Currie, with the statue, former Northern Irish footballers Pat Jennings and Gerry Armstrong and the singer Brian Kennedy
The artist behind a new statue of George Best has defended his depiction of the famous footballer, after it was criticised on social media. The main complaint was that it does not bear any resemblance to the Northern Ireland and Manchester United player.Many suggested it looks more like Pat Jennings, Best's former teammate, who unveiled it.However, artist Tony Currie said that it had the seal of approval from Best's family, and that was what mattered."Everyone is entitled to their opinion," he told the BBC.
"But anybody important to the statue, his family and his fans, they've all agreed that it's a good likeness and that's good enough for me."
Statue to honour Best unveiled in Belfast
George Best statue mocked by fans
The sculpture was unveiled at Belfast's Windsor Park on Wednesday.
Some people don't see the similarities between Best and his recreation in bronze
Mr Currie said it had been his idea to create a statue of one of Belfast's most famous sons.The idea to do a statue of a famous person in Northern Ireland came to him in 2012."I thought, who is the best known figure in this wee country that hasn't had a statue put up of them"I tried to make a clay model of his head and showed it to friends and family and they all thought it was a good likeness," he said.Mr Currie then worked alongside a welder who welded a skeleton and built the clay on top.There are various different processes the clay model goes through before it ends up as a bronze.
"We were just doing it in our spare time and I funded it myself from the start," he said."Towards the end we wanted to sound out if there was enough goodwill amongst the people of Belfast."Mr Currie put out a crowdfunding appeal and raised just over ?2000."That helped a great deal buying the raw materials because bronze is expensive," he said. He said the experience of unveiling the statue was "brilliant"."It was unreal seeing Pat Jennings, a legend and Gerry Armstrong," he added. "You couldn't have asked for better day. It really was a good feel about the whole affair. It was great to be a part of it."
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