Debbie Hewitt MBE pays tribute to those recognised in King's Birthday Honours List

Friday 14 Jun 2024
FA Chair Debbie Hewitt has paid tribute to those from football recognised this year

Football was well represented in the King's Birthday Honours List for 2024, which was revealed on Friday evening.

The FA's women's technical director Kay Cossington was awarded with an MBE for services to association football, while Jack Pearce and Mervyn Leggett are also recognised with an MBE and BEM respectively for their services to football. Jack and Mervyn have both given over 50 years to grassroots football are FA Council members and have also both served on the FA Board.

There was also an honour for ex England winger Karen Carney, who won 144 caps for England and receives an OBE for her services to association football.

And Patricia Gregory, an integral part of history of women’s football in England as a founding member of the Women’s Football Association and someone who played an important role in the creation of our England women’s senior team legacy work last year, has received an MBE for her services to national and international football and charity.

Our women's technical director Kay Cossington receives an MBE

Former England men’s senior player and more recently a member of the Three Lions’ coaching team, Chris Powell, has received an MBE.

There was recognition at grassroots level for both David and Hazel Burgess, with a BEM for their services to junior association football in Peterborough. Hazel is the general secretary of the Junior Alliance League in Peterborough and has been involved in the competition for over 30 years with husband David.

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association, was also awarded with an OBE for his services to the game.

Former players Graeme Souness and Ally McCoist, who have both played in English football and worked as popular media pundits, received a CBE and OBE respectively for their services to football, charity and broadcasting.

Speaking about the recognition of so many from the game, FA Chair Debbie Hewitt MBE said: “It’s great to see so many footballing greats receiving honours.

Carney won 144 caps for England in her playing career

"For Jack and Mervyn, who have both served on our Board and Council, it’s the culmination of over 50 years of service to the grassroots game. Jack has been an integral part of Bognor Regis Town FC since the early 70s, whilst, at the same time in Worcestershire, Mervyn was starting his work in football administration at the Evesham & District Sunday Football League.

“I’m also delighted to see former England players Karen Carney and Chris Powell rewarded. Karen most recently led the Government’s Independent Review into Women’s football, while Chris has always been a fantastic ambassador for the game as both player and coach, having also coached the England national team.

“It’s also wonderful to see Pat Gregory recognised, because for so many years women’s football wasn’t allowed in England. It was Pat’s campaigning and subsequent setting up of the Women’s FA that was the inspiration for the success of women’s football today.

“It is fantastic to see our Women’s Technical Director, Kay Cossington, receive an honour too. She’s an inspirational figure in elite women’s football and has been an integral part of the success of our Lionesses in recent years. We’re privileged to have Kay leading our work.

“I’m also delighted to see Hazel and David Burgess rewarded for their fantastic contribution to grassroots football in Peterborough and for Kev Miles, the CEO of the Football Supporters Federation, who is a fantastic champion of supporters and our great game.”

Chris Powell was on Gareth Southgate's coaching staff with England

Cossington added: "I am hugely humbled to receive this honour and would like to thank all those who have supported me in my career. Women’s football looks very different to when I joined the FA in 2005 and I have had some incredible colleagues join me on that journey. From a handful of people working all hours behind the scenes, to the creation of a women’s technical division, I would like to pay tribute to them all. We now have a team of incredibly talented people at St. George’s Park who work tirelessly to bring our vision for England teams to life and they deserve a huge amount of praise.

"Likewise I’m grateful to all those at the FA who have assisted me and given me opportunities to further my career and grow. As I transitioned to life as a working mum, and the challenges that can provide, I have felt nothing but support. It is my ambition to return that faith and provide the same opportunities to any female who is striving to make a career as a leader in football, alongside being a mum.

"I would like to pay particular tribute to Tom Youlden, a previous FA tutor and mentor to A licence coaches, someone who I have now lost touch with but I will never forget. In my earliest career, a time where women were readily discounted in football, Tom provided me with the belief to break through the glass ceiling. To him and so many others, I am truly grateful.

"Finally, I would like to thank my incredible family for their unwavering support and being by my side throughout my entire journey. I simply couldn’t be who I am without them. Thank you."

FA CEO Mark Bullingham added his congratulations.

He said: "This honour is deserved recognition for Kay and the team at St George’s Park. She has devoted her career to the development of women’s football, from the age group teams through to the seniors, and the fantastic results are there for all to see.

"She has made a huge contribution to the unprecedented senior team successes, flourishing development teams and a player pathway which is broadening opportunities for talented young players from all parts of the country to fulfil their dreams. Using football as a power for good she also has positively shaped many lives."

By Communications department