by Peter Glynn
Of all the awards presented at the first ever FA England Awards ceremony at St. George’s Park there was something special reserved for one honour in particular.
Dave Clarke, an icon and ambassador in the world of blind football, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award for his staggering contribution to the disability game.
The former Blind Team captain amassed a staggering 128 goals in 144 international appearances, including five World Cups and six European Championships, and was a worthy winner of the award presented by FA Chairman David Bernstein.
Clarke said: "It's staggering, thinking of all the people in the room and 150 years of football in this country.
"Thinking about all the hard work which has gone in to get blind and disability football to be recognised is remarkable."
Clarke, who has played at three Paralympic Games representing Great Britain, retired from playing after London 2012. However, his contribution to the game is on-going. He is currently involved is coach of Harpenden Colts’ U7s.
On receiving his award Clarke acknowledged the support and assistance many have played in his own remarkable journey.
He added: “I have to thank parents, innovative teachers, fantastic coaches and The FA.
“When The FA began to support us it was the beginning of a very long-journey, which had led to increased funding for blind and disability football.
“It has allowed to the players to effectively be full time footballers which is the ultimate dream.”
Clarke’s impressive goalscoring haul has led to descriptions as England’s greatest goalscorer.
The Lifetime Achievement award will now accompany his array of other awards including his three European Championship ‘Golden Boot’ trophies.