World Cup winner was unaware of his own Ashton statue
Tuesday 19th September 2017 @ 10:56 by Tom Greggan
Ashton News Sports

It’s a pub quiz question that most locals will know the answer to; who are the three football World Cup winners to come from Ashton-under-Lyne?

The answer lies outside the Tameside Stadium, where a statue of three footballers pays tribute to the town’s unique status. Stood between England’s 1966 heroes Sir Geoff Hurst and Jimmy Armfield is an Italian, Simone Perrotta, a former Roma player who lifted the 2006 World Cup with Italy.

In 2006, Perrotta became the third player born in Ashton-under-Lyne to win the World Cup.

Perrotta was born in Ashton in 1977 and lived there for five years, attending St. Ann’s Primary RC School on Burlington Street, before the family moved back to their home town of Cerisano in 1982. A successful career with Reggina, Juventus, Bari, Chievo and Roma reached it’s pinnacle in 2006, when he started all seven of Italy’s games at the World Cup in Germany, including the final, when the Azzuri overcame France on penalties in Berlin.

In 2010, the statue of Ashton’s World Cup winning trio was erected, but in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Giornale, Perrotta has revealed he was unaware that he had been permanently honoured in his birthplace. He is quoted as saying: “It was my uncle, who still lives there, who told me about it. I find it a bit strange nobody else alerted me to the existence of this statue. My kids were surprised standing there in front of the statues of those Arsenal players. And I thought: ‘Hey, I’m there too…’”

Perrotta retired from international football in 2010 and ended his career altogether in 2013. He celebrated his 40th birthday on Sunday.