Top sports artist tells of pride at role in Leeds United's centenary celebrations

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He's the top sports artist whose part in Leeds United's centenary celebrations promises to be a real labour of love.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, Jamie Cooper has been commissioned by Leeds to create a major new piece of art during the build-up to the club's 100th birthday in October.

Jamie Cooper at work on a previous sports arts project.

Jamie Cooper at work on a previous sports arts project.

And today the 54-year-old artist – who lives and works in the Australian city of Melbourne – told how the project holds special personal significance for him, as his father, Ronald, studied at the University of Leeds in the 1950s.

Jamie, a former professional Aussie Rules football player, said: "It has brought back a lot of memories for him – and for me, I remember when I was growing up I would hear names like John Charles being mentioned quite a bit.

"I'm delighted to be involved – as an ex-professional sportsman, I come with an understanding of what a club like this means to the community and what the community means to the club."

Jamie was speaking during a flying visit to the UK which saw him take in United's game against Aston Villa at Elland Road on Sunday.

Part of Jamie's Manchester City artwork.

Part of Jamie's Manchester City artwork.

He was then given a two-hour tour of the famous old ground by Leeds legend Eddie Gray on Tuesday.

And he has also made time to speak with plenty of fans to ensure he has a proper feel for the Whites and their history when he returns to Australia to begin work on the three-metre oil on canvas, which has been dubbed the Leeds United Dream Scene.

It will feature the club’s two title-winning managers, Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson, along with every member of the Bremner XI, a previously-announced selection of Leeds’s 11 greatest players.

Fans have been voting for the last month on which other Whites heroes should be included, with the likes of Willis Edwards, Paul Reaney, Tony Currie, Lee Chapman and Nigel Martyn all on a 60-strong shortlist drawn up by United.

Part of Jamie's Liverpool artwork.

Part of Jamie's Liverpool artwork.

Jamie has produced similar pieces of art for football clubs such as Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid as well as other famous sporting names like the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I love the reaction that I get from fans when they see the finished artwork," he told the YEP.

"Some of these people will have been following their club for 60 or 70 years, so to see their heroes from previous eras brought back to life means a lot to them.

"Whenever I start work on a project like this, I go in with a clean sheet, observe and hear from the ones who know what it is all about.

"It's a privilege to walk into a club like Leeds United and immerse myself in its stories and memories."

A fans’ vote in 2017 and 2018 decided the line-up of the Bremner XI, with legends such as John Charles, Jack Charlton, Eddie Gray, Gordon Strachan, Gary Speed and Lucas Radebe taking their place in it alongside Billy Bremner himself.