Fred Keenor Statue Fund Nears Its Target

Last updated : 30 March 2012 By Michael Morris

by Dave Sugarman -

The Fred Keenor Statue Fund was officially launched on 23 April 2010. The date was significant as it marked the 83rd anniversary of Cardiff City’s famous 1927 FA Cup final victory over Arsenal. During the subsequent two years, a small but dedicated group of volunteers has been busily campaigning to get a tribute to the legendary Bluebirds and Wales captain erected outside the new stadium. Slowly but surely they have been closing in on their £85,000 target, although the fundraising has proved a difficult challenge given the current economic climate.

Earlier this week, I caught up with Supporters’ Trust board member and Statue Fund project manager David Craig. Questions regarding the status of the appeal frequently appear on the fans’ message boards, so I asked David to provide me with an up-to-date breakdown of the amounts that have been raised and an explanation of how the funds have been generated. The current total stands at £71,556 and details of the fundraising campaign are as follows:

Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust and Fred Keenor Statue Fund Committee (£14,166)

The Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust kick-started the appeal with a £1,000 donation in April 2010 and the organisation has subsequently staged a number of events which have helped to keep it ticking over. These have included an evening to mark the fortieth anniversary of the Bluebirds’ 1971 European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter final triumph over Real Madrid and a tenth anniversary celebration of City’s 2002 FA Cup third round victory over Leeds United.

Members of the Statue Fund committee have also helped to set up numerous fundraising events, including quiz nights, football matches, race nights, 5-a-side tournaments, stadium tours and curry evenings, one of which featured entertainment provided free of charge by Cardiff-based folk singer and comedian Frank Hennessy. In total, the various events that the Trust and the Statue Fund committee have been involved in have raised £5,897

Volunteers from the Supporters’ Trust and the Statue Fund have taken part in bucket collections at five matches since the appeal was launched. Those games were: Cardiff v Leicester in May 2010, Cardiff v Sheffield United in August 2010, Wales v England in March 2011, Cardiff v Reading in May 2011 and Cardiff v Parma in July 2011. The sums collected at each of the matches were £2,524 (Leicester), £1,158 (Sheffield), £1,710 (Wales v England), £1,207 (Reading) and £670 (Parma). The overall total from the five collections stands at £7,269

Ticket Revenue from Friendly Matches (£8,841)

The management and staff at the football club have been very supportive of the appeal since it began. In particular, Cardiff City Stadium Manager Wayne Nash and Director of Marketing Julian Jenkins have been a great help to the fundraising committee.

In July 2010, the club announced it was donating £1 to the Statue Fund from every adult ticket sold for the pre-season friendly against Spanish visitors Deportivo La Coruna. That gesture was repeated a year later when the Bluebirds entertained Italian side Parma in another pre-season friendly. The appeal benefited to the tune of £5,353 from the first match and £3,488 from the second. 

Cardiff City Football Club Fundraising Events (£9,683)

The statue appeal received a major boost in September 2010 when the club hosted a fundraising evening at the Cardiff City Stadium featuring guest appearances from actor Ricky Tomlinson, comedian Gary Skyner and former Bluebirds boss Dave Jones.

More than 400 supporters attended the event and £2 from every ticket went towards the Statue Fund. Compere Julian Jenkins conducted a hugely-successful auction for prizes including a day with the players at the Vale training complex and a pair of Michael Chopra’s match-worn boots. A signed and framed shirt from the 2008 FA Cup final attracted the largest bid of £650, while the total raised on the night was an impressive £9,383.

The club arranged a similar event this season in support of the Cardiff City youth academy, but a raffle was also held for the statue appeal and another £300 was raised. 

Sales of Merchandise (£3,941)

Since August 2010, members of the fundraising committee have been selling 8” Fred Keenor figurines designed by sculptor Roger Andrews. The mini-statues retail at £39.99 and were produced in a limited edition of 200. They are available from the superstore at the Cardiff City Stadium or the Supporters’ Trust office on match days, and at the time of writing there are just 34 left in stock. The profit from the sales of these figurines currently totals £1,975.

The committee have also produced Fred Keenor lapel badges in two different designs. These cost £3 each and are also available from the Supporters’ Trust office on match days. The profit from the sales of the badges stands at £1,203.

Bluebirds legend Phil Dwyer released his autobiography ‘Mr Cardiff City’ late last year. In conjunction with Fort Publishing, Phil kindly offered to donate £5 to the Statue Fund for every copy sold during a special signing session at the Trust office in late-November. All 50 books were sold on the day and a further 35 signed copies were sold a couple of weeks later, boosting the appeal by another £425.

A number of fans have donated old football programmes to the Statue Fund and these have been on sale from the Trust office on match days since September 2011. So far, the programmes have generated £338 for the appeal. 

Donations from Supporters and Businesses (£10,688)

Fans have been making donations to the Statue Fund by cash, cheque or bank transfer ever since the campaign was launched. They have ranged from a £1 coin that was handed over in the Trust office by a ten-year old supporter to considerably larger sums donated by fans such as Graham Keenor, who is Fred’s nephew, and former Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock.

Every individual donation has been gratefully received and the total currently stands at £5,703. That figure includes sponsorship money which was collected by marathon runners Richard Lewis of Cardiff and Matthew Bullock from Porthcawl. Richard earned £170 for the appeal by running the Berlin marathon, while Matthew raised £475 when competing in the Toronto equivalent.

During the last two years, fans have also been donating money via the ticket office while making payments for their season tickets. The amount donated by this method totals£4,235.

Members of the Statue Fund committee have been actively encouraging local businesses to donate money ever since the appeal began but the response has been disappointing. As things stand, only five companies have made donations totalling £750. Easily the largest donation came from Wolverhampton-based brewery chain Marstons, who submitted a cheque for £500 soon after the Sand Martin pub was opened on the new stadium site.

The Carling Cup Final Coaches Initiative (£4,237)

Shortly after the Bluebirds reached the recent Carling Cup final, the committee of the Cardiff City Supporters’ Club announced they would be donating £1 to the Statue Fund for every fan who travelled on their coaches to Wembley. A number of independent coach operators followed suit and a considerable sum of money was raised for the appeal.

The Supporters’ Club donated £3,000, while independent operators such as Tony Jeffries, Mike Gale, Carl Curtis, Wayne Anderson and Gerald Wadley donated a combined total of £1,237

Pledges by the Cardiff Council and the Welsh Assembly Government (£20,000)

A few weeks before the Fred Keenor Statue Fund was officially launched, Cardiff Council officials pledged £15,000 towards the campaign, while Welsh Assembly Government ministers pledged a further £5,000 in February of this year. The money should be released by the authorities very soon once all of the necessary paperwork has been completed.

‘I’ll Be There’ Single (£0)

In July 2010, a new version of the traditional Cardiff City supporters’ anthem ‘I’ll Be There’ was recorded at Monnow Valley Studios by a band called the Stand. The group consisted of actor, television presenter and singer Jonathan Owen, Super Furry Animals guitarist Guto Pryce, former Catatonia bass player Owen Powell and Funeral for a Friend drummer Ryan Richards.

The song was released three months later on the London-based Acid Jazz label and was available for purchase on CD, 7” vinyl, picture disc and as a download. All of the artist royalties were pledged to the Fred Keenor Statue Fund and it was anticipated the record would raise a significant sum for the appeal.

Sadly, however, the Statue Fund has yet to receive a penny from the sales of ‘I’ll Be There’ due to a dispute involving the record company, the distributors and the football club. This news will no doubt be an embarrassment to the musicians who produced the song and a disappointment to the thousands of Bluebirds fans who bought it. Despite the length of time that has elapsed since the record was released, the fundraising committee remains hopeful that the issues can be resolved and the royalties will eventually be donated to the appeal.

‘Our Ninian Park’ Book

A new book entitled ‘Our Ninian Park’ will be launched on Saturday 31 March. It contains more than 250 photographs of the Bluebirds’ former home taken during the club’s final season at the old ground, and also includes a history of Ninian Park, fans’ recollections and a foreword by ex-Bluebirds striker Carl Dale.

The book has been funded by the Cardiff City Supporters’ Club and produced by the club’s Vice-Chairman, Mark Watkins. It retails at £12.99 but will be available from the Cardiff City Superstore, the Supporters’ Club office and the Supporters’ Trust office for a special launch-day price of £9.99. 

All of the profits from the sales of the book will be going towards the Fred Keenor statue appeal. I have been privileged enough to be involved in the production of ‘Our Ninian Park’ and can assure you that it is of the highest possible quality. Mark and his publisher have done a fantastic job with the book’s design and I’m confident it will prove very popular with City fans of all ages. Hopefully, it will sell plenty of copies and provide another major boost for the Statue Fund.

Raising £85,000 to get the Fred Keenor statue built has proved an uphill struggle, but the efforts of the fundraising committee have been outstanding. David Craig, Phil Nifield and Graham Keenor have worked tirelessly since the appeal was launched, although there is still plenty of work left to do and they could use your help.

If you have an idea for a fundraising initiative or would like to volunteer your services for any future events, please contact the Fred Keenor Statue Fund committee at 

If you would like to make a donation to the appeal by bank transfer, please write to the same e-mail address and ask for further details. Donations can also be made in cash on match days at the Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust office (near Gate 5) or by cheque sent to: Fred Keenor Appeal, CCST, PO Box 4254, Cardiff, CF14 8FD. Please make your cheque payable to the Fred Keenor Statue Fund.