“When these Football Business Awards were created it was to acknowledge that the influence of top class football extended beyond the stadium.
The economic impact of football on cities and towns is significant. Football creates and supports hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, assists with urban regeneration and is a vital part of city identity.
Much of the power in football comes from the players themselves, those who set positive examples and who use their influence for positive outcomes.
This year the organisers wanted to launch a new award to celebrate these remarkable individuals: present and former players. We are calling it the Global Football Ambassador Award.
We asked a selection of our judges and opinion leaders in football to nominate, and Sir Bobby Charlton was the overwhelming choice.
I personally am humbled to present this award to Sir Bobby.
Bobby will recall his days in Manchester United’s youth system, when youngsters would have to perform many tasks including cleaning the senior players’ boots. Well, quite frankly, I am not fit to even clean the boots of such a footballing icon.
Bobby is one of the greatest-ever midfielders, as well as England’s leading scorer of all time. He is a fantastic ambassador for English football, and remains a prime asset of Manchester United.
This is not the first award Sir Bobby has been presented with by a Chelsea Chairman here at Stamford Bridge. He received a cigarette case from Brian Mears back in April 1973 on his final league game for Manchester United (which actually ended in a 1-0 win for the Blues thanks to a Peter Osgood goal, but that’s by the by!).
I am delighted to present this award more than 40 years on from that match. It is testament to the impact Sir Bobby has made – and continues to make – on the game that his legendary status in world football has continued to grow ever since.
Sir Bobby Charlton…”