Full list of UK football figures to have been knighted & received CBEs & OBEs

Kenny Dalglish Buckingham Palace 2018Getty

Some of football's biggest names have been recognised by the British monarchy for their services to the game.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Kenny Dalglish spring to mind when considering football icons who have been knighted, but there are plenty more.

There are also other honours bestowed upon individuals, such as CBEs, OBEs and MBEs, and many footballers have also been recognised with those, though they are of a lower rank than those of the aforementioned individuals.

GOAL brings you everything you need to know about footballers who have been knighted.

What are knighthoods?

Knighthoods are honours awarded to individuals by the sovereign of the United Kingdom in recognition of achievements in or services to a particular field.

Individuals are deemed to be 'knighted' when they are awarded a medal or badge which signifies that they have been given the title of Knight Grand Cross or Knight Commander (Dame Grand Cross or Dame Commander in the case of women) of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. 

The Knight Grand Cross/Dame Grand Cross (GBE) is the highest honour of the chivalric order, followed by Knight Commander/Dame Commander (KBE/DBE). Those who have received these honours are free to take the title Sir or Dame.

Sir Alex Ferguson Manchester United

Below GBE and KBE, in order, are Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) and Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Honorary knighthoods are awarded to citizens of countries where the British sovereign - in this case, the Queen - is not the head of state.

Football figures who have been knighted

Football figures who have been knighted form a very exclusive group, with less than 20 individuals receiving the honour.

The group includes former Manchester United managers Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson, as well as England's World Cup-winning manager Alf Ramsey.

Trevor Brooking2004
Matt Busby1968
Bobby Charlton1994
Charles Clegg1927
Kenny Dalglish2018
Alex Ferguson1999
Tom Finney1998
Geoff Hurst1998
Stanley Matthews1965
Bert Millichip1991
Alf Ramsey1967
Dave Richards2006
Bobby Robson2002
Stanley Rous1949
Walter Winterbottom1978

*Honorary knighthood

Interestingly, Brazil's three-time World Cup winner Pele was given an honorary knighthood in 1997, but he strictly cannot use the title Sir until he becomes a British citizen - at which point the honorary knighthood would then become a substantive knighthood.

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish is one of the most recent recipients, having received the honour in 2018.

Football figures who have received CBEs

Like knighthoods, the number football figures to have received CBEs remains relatively small.

Former Celtic manager Jock Stein was given the honour in 1970, three years after he helped the Glasgow club become the first British club to win the European Cup.

Jimmy Armfield2010
Craig Brown1999
Paul Elliott2012
Ron Greenwood1981

Roy Hodgson


Denis Law2016
Hope Powell2010
Alan Shearer2016
Jock Stein1970
Billy Wright1959

Other figures to have received CBEs include ex England women's team manager Hope Powell and former Scotland manager Craig Brown, while former England and Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer was given a CBE in 2016.

Football figures who have received OBEs

David Beckham Victoria Beckham

The list of football figures who have received OBEs is much bigger than those who have received knighthoods and CBEs.

Among those who to have been rewarded with the honour are David Beckham, Brian Clough and Gary Lineker. 

Gordon Banks1970
Brendan Batson2015
David Beckham2003

Luther Blissett


Brian Clough1991
Chris Coleman2017
Garth Crooks1999
Jack Charlton1974

Jermain Defoe


George Eastham1973

Rio Ferdinand


Ryan Giggs2007
Jimmy Hill1995
Gerard Houllier*2003
Emlyn Hughes1980

Mark Hughes


Kevin Keegan1982
Frank Lampard2015
Gary Lineker1992
Cliff Lloyd1975
Nat Lofthouse1994
Des Lynam2008
Joe Mercer1976
Bobby Moore1967
John Motson2001
Bill Nicholson1975
Martin O'Neill2004
Bob Paisley1977
Don Revie1970
Bryan Robson1990
Bill Shankly1974
Peter Shilton1991
Walter Smith1997

Gareth Southgate


Gordon Strachan1993

Mike Summerbee


Gordon Taylor2008
Graham Taylor2002
Jack Taylor1975
Geoff Thompson2007
Tommy Walker1960
Arsene Wenger*2003
Bob Wilson2008
Rachel Yankey2014
Gianfranco Zola*2004

*Honorary OBE.

Jack Charlton, who was part of England's 1966 World Cup-winning team, has been awarded an OBE, which is sure to have been a discussion topic with his brother Sir Bobby Charlton.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, along with ex Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier and Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola have been awarded honorary OBEs.