Former Sunderland AFC star and England and Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson gets MBE in Queen's Birthday Honours
Former Sunderland star and England captain Jordan Henderson’s charity work has been given Royal approval.
The former Farringdon Academy pupil receives an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours not only for his achievements on the pitch but in recognition of his part in forming charitable fund, Players Together, which supported NHS good causes during the first coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Jordan, who celebrates his 31st birthday next week, came up through the Academy of Light and made his SAFC first team debut in November 2008.
He made almost 80 appearances for the Black Cats before being sold to Liverpool for an undisclosed sum, believed to be around £20million, in June 2011.
In the decade since, he has captained the Reds to Premier League and Champions’ League glory, as well as making almost 60 appearances for England and captaining the national team.
The #PlayersTogether initiative was announced in early April last year at the height of the coronavirus pandemic which saw football and other sports all come to a halt.
Premier League captains worked together to help establish a joint contribution fund which was directed to the NHS Charities Together group for distribution to good causes working to provide support to NHS staff and patients.
Jordan said he was “humbled” by the award and insisted he was only part of a movement among with his Premier League counterparts, and he dedicated his honour to NHS staff.
On receiving his MBE for services to football and charity, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said: “There are many privileges that come from playing professional football, but having a platform to promote a charitable cause such as Players Together and NHS Charities Together is as big a privilege as any.
“It’s important for me to state that although the honour has been issued to me personally, the credit must be shared to a far larger group of people and I accept this in the knowledge I was part of something special, rather than the reason for it.
“The other Premier League captains were the catalyst and the rest of the players, including my own teammates at Liverpool, were a driving force behind the scenes.
“Huge numbers of football fans, from across the country, also displayed great generosity in donating. But the true heroes are the NHS staff; they put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect us.
“Therefore I dedicate this to all the nurses, doctors, carers, porters, admin workers, cleaners, security personnel and every single individual who devotes their career and their lives to making the NHS the part of British life we are rightly most proud of as a nation.”
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: "This is very appropriate recognition for Jordan with all that he has achieved as he is a great ambassador for his sport and his community.
"Only this week he has spoken of how the England team must continue to keep 'taking the knee' and showing how they are united against racism. Jordan is very deserving of this recognition in the birthday honours. We look forward to a date in the future where his home city can also honour him."
In 2019, the City Council agreed that Jordan should at a future date be conferred with a Freedom of the City. The freedom was proposed as he has been an ambassador for the city, the North East, for football and as a strong role model for young people.
Jordan’s Three Lions teammate Raheem Sterling also receives an MBE, in recognition of his services to racial equality in sport, as does former England midfielder Geoff Thomas for his work in raising funds for cancer treatment and research through the Geoff Thomas Foundation.
Former England boss Roy Hodgson and Wimbledon and A Question of Sport star Sue Barker receive CBEs, while rugby star Kevin Sinfield is awarded an OBE in recognition but also in raising over £2million for research into motor neurone disease, a condition which has affected his friend and former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Rob Burrow.