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Londoner one of many to inspire Gareth Southgate tube idea

PICTURED: Artist Bwoy Wonder with his version of the Gareth Southgate station design

A LONDON Underground station was temporarily named after England's football manager – with Londoners including Lego artist Bwoy Wonder serving as one of the many inspirations behind it.

Southgate Tube station was rebranded Gareth Southgate station from Monday morning for 48 hours, after the squad finished fourth in the World Cup.

It was England's best result since 1990 when they also lost in the semi-final.

However, one of the first sightings of the Gareth Southgate tube station idea was created by Wonder on July 11, as revealed in a tweet posted prior to the match.

In the tweet, he said: “Win or lose, rename this station after @GarethSouthgate.”

The tweet was accompanied by an image of the Southgate tube station logo, which featured the words ‘Gareth’ designed in Legos by Wonder.

Speaking exclusively to The Voice, he said: “As a creative, my mind is always thinking of different ways to do engaging street art, and I came up with the idea to rename Southgate tube.

“I was sitting at my mum's house and it just came to me after watching a replay of their win against Sweden. I rushed out to Lego store in Stratford, made the name ‘Gareth’ in Lego blocks and dashed to Southgate tube station before mounting my artwork above Southgate tube sign on the underground.”

The England supporter said he even filmed him at the station and spoke to a train guard. “I gave him a heads up to try keep it there without removing. He was cool about it,” he recalled.

What followed was a tweet from Wonder on July 12, urging TFL to keep the Gareth Lego sign above the logo and to not take them down. He tweeted: “Dear @TFL I know they’re out, but please leave this up till after England return. Regards, The artist.”

Much to the London artist’s excitement, the logo didn’t get taken down – instead, TFL teamed up with Visa to create the rebranded logo.

Transport for London said: "We're delighted to be able to show our appreciation to Gareth and the team by renaming the station in his honour."

While Wonder was happy to see his art inspire and take shape, he is “disheartened” at the lack of acknowledgement as one of the inspirations behind the idea.

He said to The Voice: “I felt disheartened and slightly robbed of an idea I initiated and campaigned for. As an artist that has done artwork for major brands such as Converse, PUMA and MTV, a lot of our ideas are used and we're compensated financially or credited.

“I'm a professional at what I do and had expected to have been acknowledged as such.”

The artist who’s created works for Kanye West and Diddy, also said that he’s received no contact from either TFL or Visa, who both teamed up for the rebranded Southgate station logo.

“Apart from a like on my Instagram account from TFL, no credit or acknowledgement as yet from either parties. I'm still waiting,” he said.

However in a statement to The Voice, TFL denied claims the idea was inspired specifically from Wonder’s design. “We were already thinking about the idea prior to then. It had sort of been doing the rounds on social media a few weeks beforehand about it maybe being renamed,” said a spokesperson for TFL.

“In fact, the week before we had already tweeted a picture of the staff at Southgate station wishing Gareth good luck, so we already started discussions with people ahead of anything else that may have happened. There were also a few people on social media prior to that suggesting it as well.”

Despite the debate of the origins of the idea, people across social media have rallied behind Wonder and have called for credit where they think its due.

Guardian journalist Hannah Jane Parkinson tweeted: “Hope @TfL and @VisaUK get in touch with @bwoywonder, artists deserve to be credited and are appropriated too often especially POC artists & those starting out.”

Another user said on Instagram: “You still not getting enough credit for doing this first. It's everywhere now, but they all be acting like it's their idea.”

“I really appreciate the public's support, especially from strangers, major channels and some influential journalists too, including The Voice,” said Wonder. “People will always rally around what's fair and just.”

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