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

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Footballers are sometimes recognised by the British crown for their services to the game - Goal brings you all you need to know

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 now 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.

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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.

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


Sir Alex Ferguson August 2017

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.

Person When?
Trevor Brooking 2004
Matt Busby 1968
Bobby Charlton 1994
Charles Clegg 1927
Kenny Dalglish 2018
Alex Ferguson 1999
Tom Finney 1998
Geoff Hurst 1998
Stanley Matthews 1965
Bert Millichip 1991
Pele* 1997
Alf Ramsey 1967
Dave Richards 2006
Bobby Robson 2002
Stanley Rous 1949
Walter Winterbottom 1978

*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


Alan Shearer 2016

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.

Person When?
Jimmy Armfield 2010
Craig Brown 1999
Paul Elliott 2012
Ron Greenwood 1981
Denis Law 2016
Hope Powell 2010
Alan Shearer 2016
Jock Stein 1970
Billy Wright 1959

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. 

Person When?
Gordon Banks 1970
Brendan Batson 2015
David Beckham 2003
Brian Clough 1991
Chris Coleman 2017
Garth Crooks 1999
Jack Charlton 1974
George Eastham 1973
Ryan Giggs 2007
Jimmy Hill 1995
Gerard Houllier* 2003
Emlyn Hughes 1980
Kevin Keegan 1982
Frank Lampard 2015
Gary Lineker 1992
Cliff Lloyd 1975
Nat Lofthouse 1994
Des Lynam 2008
Joe Mercer 1976
Bobby Moore 1967
John Motson 2001
Bill Nicholson 1975
Martin O'Neill 2004
Bob Paisley 1977
Don Revie 1970
Bryan Robson 1990
Bill Shankly 1974
Peter Shilton 1991
Walter Smith 1997
Gordon Strachan 1993
Gordon Taylor 2008
Graham Taylor 2002
Jack Taylor 1975
Geoff Thompson 2007
Tommy Walker 1960
Arsene Wenger* 2003
Bob Wilson 2008
Rachel Yankey 2014
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 be 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.

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