ANDY Gregory admitted to being gob-smacked after fan power ensured he remains in the frame for a new statue celebrating rugby league’s historic association with Wembley Stadium.
Gregory, along with fellow Wigan legend Jim Sullivan, has been added to the shortlist of candidates after “several thousand” fans declared their support via email and telephone.
And Gregory, who won the Lance Todd Trophy twice in nine Wembley appearances, has issued a heartfelt ‘thanks’ to the fans who clearly still idolise him.
He said: “It’s just nice that people have cared enough to get in touch with the RFL, it’s really nice for my family.
“A lot of people had been stopping me and saying they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t on the shortlist to start with. I’d even had people from St Helens – and, believe me, there’s no love lost there – asking me who I’d upset.
“I’m just made up now that I have and you never know – this time next year I might be stood up there at the side of Bobby Moore!”
A five-time Wembley winner with Wigan, Gregory admits he’ll always have a special affinity with the place.
“Everyone knows I’m a proud Wiganer, but I didn’t have a bad career at my other clubs either and I also played there for Great Britain against Australia, and we won,” he added.
“There’s even a strip of the old Wembley turf in my brother Bryn’s back garden, so it’s never far away.
“I’ll have to get campaigning now to get me over the line, I’ll be out with my loudspeaker so everyone had better watch out!”
RFL chief executive Nigel Wood says the addition of Gregory and Sullivan to the shortlist was well-deserved.
“I’m delighted, and not at all surprised, that both Jim and Andy are commanding the support they have because both played important roles in the history of rugby league at Wembley,” Wood said.
“We’d like to hear the views of as many people as possible before we take the selection process to the next stage.”
Fans can cast their vote for a Wembley hero until December 31, when the results will be considered by a specially-convened panel comprising past and present players, coaches, media, administrators and the public.
The final shortlist is: Eric Ashton, Billy Boston, Jonathan Davies, Shaun Edwards, Don Fox, Neil Fox, Andy Gregory, Ellery Hanley, Willie Horne, Alex Murphy, Martin Offiah, Gus Risman, Clive Sullivan, Jim Sullivan, Lance Todd.