Wright, Evans and Aluko recognised in King's Birthday Honours list


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Ian Wright, Jonny Evans and Eni Aluko were among those named in the King’s Birthday Honours list.

Former Arsenal striker Wright has been rewarded with an OBE for services to football and charity.

Wright, who did not sign professionally until the age of 21, scored a post-war record 117 goals for his first club Crystal Palace, including two against Manchester United in the 1990 FA Cup final, before the London club were beaten 1-0 in the replay.

He enjoyed even greater success at Arsenal after signing for them in 1991, finishing as the Gunners’ top scorer for six seasons in a row and scoring 185 goals for the club in total – a figure only surpassed by Thierry Henry.

Since retiring in 2000, Wright has become a regular and popular pundit on Match of the Day and on ITV’s coverage of the England men’s and women’s teams. He has spoken powerfully about racism in football and last summer during the Women’s Euros added his voice for the calls for girls to be given equal access to the sport at school.

Former Chelsea and England forward Aluko, who won 102 caps for the Lionesses during her playing career, has been given an MBE.

Eni Aluko
Former Lionesses forward Eni Aluko has been given an MBE

Aluko, who started out at Birmingham in 2001, was part of the Chelsea squad which won the 2015, 2017 and 2018 Women’s Super League titles and the 2015 and 2018 FA Cup. She was also part of the Lionesses team which reached the final of the 2009 Euros, and a key component of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics.

Since her retirement, she has worked in director roles at Aston Villa and Angel City in the American National Women’s Soccer League, as well as a television pundit.

Northern Ireland and Leicester defender Jonny Evans also received an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours list after surpassing 100 international caps.

Jonny Evans
Northern Ireland centurion Jonny Evans has been honoured

Evans said: “When I got the letter through the door and it had the royal seal on the back I was a bit shocked, but it was also amazing.

“It made me feel very proud, especially when I saw that it was in recognition of my contribution to association football in Northern Ireland.

“It brought it home that playing more than 100 times for my country, and playing for so long for Northern Ireland, has been so good. I represented everyone in the country and had many good times along the way.”

Former Rangers captain John Greig becomes a CBE in recognition of an incredible career with the Glasgow club, in which he won five league titles and six Scottish Cups, captained them to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972 and was voted by supporters as ‘The Greatest Ever Ranger’ in 1999.

John Greig has been named in the King's Birthday Honours list
John Greig has been named in the King’s Birthday Honours list

Also recognised is referee Amy Fearn, who in 2010 became the first woman to referee an EFL match when she took over officiating duties for the final 20 minutes of the game between Coventry and Nottingham Forest.

Fearn, who also became the first woman to referee in the men’s FA Cup first round in 2013, said: “It’s all a little bit surreal but all very nice at the same time.

“I got a letter through the post about a month ago to say that I had been nominated and would I like to accept it. My initial reaction was, who was winding me up?!

“The letter was totally out of the blue. When you make the phone call to confirm everything, I asked who it was that had nominated me but they said they couldn’t tell me.

“For someone to take the time to nominate me and go to this much effort is very nice and touching.”

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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