South East Wales

Fred Keenor statue unveiled by Cardiff City

An £85,000 statue to commemorate Cardiff City's 1927 FA Cup winning captain Fred Keenor has been unveiled outside the club's stadium.

It follows a lengthy fundraising campaign by Cardiff City Supporters Trust and statue appeal committee.

Fans chose a design by artist Roger Andrews, who produced the Millennium Stadium's Sir Tasker Watkins statue.

Cardiff won the FA Cup after beating Arsenal 1-0 - the only time the trophy has gone to a non-English club.

Philip Nifield, supporters' trust spokesman, said: "Fred might not have been Cardiff's most gifted player, but unarguably he's our most successful, and the legend of his never-say-die spirit has helped sustain City sides through the many darker years which followed,"

"We began the appeal to raise funds for a Fred Keenor statue in 2010, on the 83rd anniversary of the Cup final win, and it'll be officially unveiled 40 years after he died, so there's a lot of poignancy to the occasion.

"One of the most heart-warming aspects has been that - along with the major contributions from the Welsh government and the Football Association of Wales - we've received individual donations ranging from £5,000 to children coming in with their 50p pocket money."

The son of a bricklayer from the Roath area of the city, Keenor signed for Cardiff in 1912.

During his 19 years at the club, the Bluebirds were losing finalists and winners of the FA Cup, won the Charity Shield and were First Division runners-up.

Keenor also won 32 caps for Wales, leading them to Home Nations' Championship titles in 1920, 1924 and 1928.

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Media captionPhilip Nifield of the supporters' trust talks to Peter Johnson on BBC Radio Wales

Nephew Graham Keenor says his uncle achieved all this despite being injured on active service in the First World War.

"In common with so many professional footballers of the day, when war broke out in 1914 Fred joined-up with the 17th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, who were nicknamed the Football Battalion," he said.

"He took a serious leg injury from shrapnel at the battle of the Somme, and doctors told him that he'd never be able to play again.

"But Fred had other ideas. He never knew when he was beaten.

"When Cardiff lost the 1925 FA Cup final, he told reporters that he was proud to have got so far, and that supporters shouldn't be down-in-the-mouth as he could confidently say that Cardiff would go one better sometime soon - and he was right."

The statue was unveiled outside Gate 3 at the Cardiff City Stadium in the build-up to the Bluebirds' game at home to Hull City.

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