HE was loved by fans as the ‘gentleman’ of Portsmouth Football Club.
And now supporters are pushing for a 9ft statue to pay tribute to Pompey legend Jimmy Dickinson.
Dickinson, who played left-half, made 828 appearances for the club and scored 10 goals.
He was nicknamed ‘Gentleman Jim’ as he was never booked by a referee during his 20-year career.
The proposed statue would go on the corner of Milton Road and Alverstoke Road, in Milton.
Graham Farmer, 49, of Milton, is a fan who is spearheading the project.
He said: ‘Jimmy is synonymous with everything good about the club and football in general. So it’s time, I feel, he was recognised with a statue.’
Artist Roger Holman has been picked to design and build the statue.
Mr Holman, 50, has recently made a bust of Charles Dickens, which is in Portsmouth’s Central Library.
He has made a maquette – a mini model pictured above – to show what the statue will look like.
Mr Holman said: ‘The family came to see the maquette, approved it and gave consent for the statue. It’s an honour to make the statue. We want to try and give something accurate. It was great meeting Jimmy’s family and looking through the family albums, as this really helped me with the maquette.
‘It’s been 30 years since he died, so it’s a fitting time to have this tribute.
‘He was a great man, he never got a yellow card, red card or was even spoken to by a linesman. He’s a tremendous part of Pompey’s story.’
Fans say they have planning permission from Portsmouth City Council and have three years to build the statue.
Now £75,000 needs to be raised in order to pay for the plinth, statue and landscaping.
Work is under way to come up with fundraising ideas, including a website that people can donate money to.
Graham said he recognises that it is a difficult time to ask for money when fans are being asked to contribute to the takeover of the club, but said he hoped supporters would back him.
He said: ‘I think it was a missed opportunity before, but the fans I’ve spoken to support it and think it’s about time and it’s 30 years too late. I’m confident fans will get behind this.’
Neil Weld, a spokesman for PFC, said: ‘Jimmy is arguably the greatest player ever to pull on the famous blue shirt – that’s why his face adorns the Fratton End. We can think of no more deserving a recipient of this honour than Jimmy.’
Teenage star who became a Fratton Park favourite
JIMMY Dickinson made his debut for Pompey on May 1, 1943, at the age of 18.
He took a three-year break from football to join the Royal Navy, before returning to the club in 1946.
Three years later on May 18, Dickinson won his first cap for England, as the side won 4-1 against Norway.
It would be the first of 48 international appearances.
In September 1976, Dickinson took over as manager.
He died in November 1982, aged 57, after suffering from three heart attacks.