Derby's Bywater in hot water over erotic art installation in garden
Published 22:30 22/09/10 By Steve Myall
Modern art makes a change from a fleet of noisy sports cars and screeching WAGs but the choice of garden decoration by Derby County’s stopper Stephen Bywater has won him no fans.
Instead of monogrammed electric gates and a Ferrari the championship goalkeeper created and displayed a piece of erotic artwork in his garden.
The makeshift exhibition, which included wind chimes, a blow-up doll embellished with rubber genitalia and a portable toilet covered in graffiti, were described by ‘eyesores’ by his neighbours and last night the keeper covered his handiwork with tarpaulins.
One of the mottos, painted on the side of a disused toilet block, coupled with a bright blue horse box, reads “piece and love” (sic).
Bywater lives in the leafy hamlet of Sutton-on-the-hill, eight miles west of Derby.
The village, with a population of just 125, it has no shop, no post office, no pub, no regular bus service, no school, and is considered to be a very close-knit community of the rich and well to do.
His bosses at Derby County FC have said they “completely disassociate” themselves from his misguided creative attempts and the local police have got involved.
According to the former West Ham player’s next-door neighbour he started putting the erotic pieces in his garden last December.
The 75-year-old, who did not wish to be named, said: “We were away on holiday when he put it up.
“Our neighbours sent us pictures to show us what he had done and my wife didn’t want to come home.
“He adds to it all the time, painting extra bits and putting more things on.’
“He says it is his artwork but we just want him to take it down. It is horrible to have to look at it. Children go past on the bus as well.”
Another village resident, TV ghost-hunter Richard Felix said: “It is an eyesore and you can’t miss it if you drive through the village.”
Bywater has defended himself and said: “Lots of people have a hobby and my current hobby is art.
“We spoke to the neighbours at their request and they told us that as far as they are concerned it can stay, and I quote, ‘we are not that bothered?”
In reference to his misspelled graffiti, he added: “She advised me to use a dictionary.”
But he later issued an apology seemingly rejecting the assertion the installation was merely an avant garden artwork, after the row was reported in his local newspaper.
He said: “On Wednesday, an article was published detailing certain items that I have put in my garden over the last few weeks and days.
“Although I consider this a private issue, I would like to apologise to any supporters and local residents in Derbyshire who have been offended.
“It was and is still my view that my actions were made as a private citizen and are in no way linked to Derby County Football Club.
“However, now it has been brought into the public domain, I acknowledge that this does not reflect well on me as a professional or the club in general.
“I am one of the club’s longest serving players and therefore I, better than anyone, appreciate the responsibilities that come with representing Derby County, both on and off the pitch.
“Although I am disappointed this private matter has become a public issue, I have now taken action to remove from view the items which have caused offence to local residents.
“I apologize again if my actions have in anyway damaged my reputation or the reputation of the club.”
In a statement, Derby County FC said: “The club was made aware of the issue through a third party and has been in dialogue with Stephen about it and the perceptions that may arise from it.
“We have also been in contact with his neighbours regarding his actions.’
“This is not the type of conduct we expect from one of our employees.”
A spokesperson for Derbyshire Police said: “We are trying to speak to Mr Bywater and his neighbours to come to some sort of amicable agreement around this artwork.”