These players have showcased excellent commitment to their cause both on and off the pitch.
The MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) is a high-ranking order of merit awarded to citizens by the Queen of the United Kingdom. It is the first ranking of appointment in the order and there are progressively higher rankings.
Over the years, plenty of footballers among many other distinguished personalities have been conferred with this honour for their services to the beautiful game and society as well. Among past players and contemporaries, footballers have been using their public image to indulge themselves in plenty of activities of community service and giving back to the game that gave them everything.
In this article, we will be looking at five distinguished footballers who were conferred with the MBE:
5. Teddy Sheringham
Teddy Sheringham is considered among England’s finest strikers. He turned out for Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham in a career spanning more than two decades. It was at Tottenham where he became a household name, scoring 124 goals in 277 appearances for the North London club.
Sheringham holds the record for being the oldest player to score a goal in the Premier League, when he slotted home for West Ham in 2006 aged 40 years and 268 days. He also scored the equaliser in the famous 1999 UEFA Champions League final, where Manchester United miraculously triumphed over Bayern Munich to complete a historic treble. The first and the only instance of an English club winning the treble.
After his playing career, he also managed ATK in the 2017-18 season of the Indian Super League, but was sacked midway through due to poor results.
Sheringham was awarded the MBE in 2007 for his contribution to the game. He won three successive Premier League titles with United, along with the 1998-99 Champions League triumph. The Englishman won the inaugural Premier League Golden Boot and was also nominated to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2009. He featured 51 times for England and scored 11 goals in the process.
4. Ian Wright
At the turn of the millennium, Arsenal legend Ian Wright was conferred with the MBE after hanging up his boots. Considered one of the best strikers of his time, Wright scripted a legendary career at Crystal Palace and then at Arsenal.
It was in North London where he played his best football and won the Premier League with the Gunners in 1997-98. Wright is the second-highest goalscorer in Arsenal’s history, with 185 goals in 288 games. He also won the FA Cup twice with the club. As an international, he represented the Three Lions 33 times, scoring on nine occasions.
Wright was named the “Player of the Century” for Crystal Palace and was also elected to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005. After retiring, he got into punditry and lends his voice to plenty of established media houses. He also released his own autobiography Mr.Wright in 1993 and later released an edited version of the same in 2016 titled “A Life in Football.”
3. Harry Kane
A more contemporary addition to the honours list is Spurs striker Harry Kane. Kane is among the most lethal strikers in Europe and his statistics and consistency ever since he burst onto the scene in the Premier League speaks volumes about his quality in front of goal. The striker’s current goal tally for Spurs stands at an outstanding 196 goals in 295 games.
Kane holds numerous records and awards to his name. He won the Premier League Golden Boot in back-to-back seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively and was nominated for the PFA Team of the Year on four consecutive seasons from 2015 to 2018.
His goalscoring record is even more prolific for England, with 32 goals in 47 games. He captained the Three Lions to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and also won the Golden Boot in the tournament ,with six goals. He was also nominated to the 2018 World Cup Dream Team. His achievement with the national team got him inducted into the British Royal Order as an MBE in 2019.
2. Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard is inarguably one of the most iconic figures of his generation and in English football history. He was the true embodiment of football on Merseyside. His excellence in midfield and leadership skills made him an inextricable part of Liverpool and England.
At Liverpool, Gerrard won it all, except the Premier League. He helped the Reds to multiple famous victories, none bigger than in the 2005 Champions League final. The game titled “Miracle of Istanbul” saw Gerrard inspire Liverpool to the title on penalties, after the Reds overturned a 3-0 half-time deficit to 3-3, with the equaliser coming from the inspirational skipper himself.
Gerrard is Liverpool’s third-highest appearance maker (710) and their fifth-highest goalscorer (186), despite playing the majority of his career in midfield. He is Liverpool’s highest goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League (30) and holds a host of other individual and collective honours in a glorious two-decade career. He was awarded his MBE in 2007 for his distinguished services to Liverpool and English football.
1. Marcus Rashford
The latest entrant in the list of footballers awarded the MBE is Marcus Rashford, who was nominated to the order (at the age of just 22) owing to his stellar efforts to ensure that children below the poverty line don’t suffer from hunger during the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the movement, he went ahead to voice his opinion on the government reinstating its free meals program. Rashford took inspiration from his childhood, when his mother had to work very hard to make ends meet and feed him and his siblings.
Through multiple relief ventures and campaigns, Rashford championed the initiative and went out of his way to ensure that food and care reached the poorest people (especially young children) in the most remote parts of the nation, at a time when self-preservation was paramount for everyone.
Rashford called out plenty of people in the government to work for the common good. Thanks to his efforts, hundreds of thousands of children and families are relieved of facing food shortages, amidst the insidious global pandemic. His efforts have won him widespread praise and international acclaim from footballers and others alike.