Leeds unveil statue of John Holmes

Leeds Rhinos unveiled the first statue in the 130 years history of Emerald Headingley Stadium on Sunday, when a sculpture of John Holmes, generally acknowledged as arguably the greatest player ever to have played for Leeds, took its place in front of the South Stand at a ceremony attended by club officials, relatives, former players, including some former team-mates of Holmes, and supporters.

The statue, which is eight feet high, was created by sculptor Steve Winterburn, who also created the iconic Wembley Stadium Rugby League heroes statue.
It was unveiled by Holmes’ former Leeds team-mate and captain, David Ward.

The John Holmes Statue now sits at the front of the Tetley’s South Stand where it is intended to be a permanent tribute to a Rugby League icon.

The statue is cast in solid bronze on a Yorkshire stone plinth with a commemorative plaque.

The total cost was in the region of £110,000, which was raised by part public subscription and private donation via the Leeds Rhinos Foundation.

“It is a historic moment for Emerald Headingley to have its first statue after over 130 years, which will act as a focal point for all fans,” said Leeds Foundation Chair Phil Caplan.

“To have the ultimate local – and reluctant – hero looking out over Kirkstall, where he came from, could not be more appropriate, fitting and poignant.

“John Holmes remains one of the greatest players to have ever played for Leeds Rugby League, having played for over two decades for his home town club. A Kirkstall born and bred lad, his impact and legacy is huge, and it is only fitting that a lasting memorial is erected in John’s memory at the iconic Emerald Headingley Stadium.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.