Normally at this time of year, the FWA would be preparing for one of the highlights of the season, their Tribute Award Dinner at The Savoy. While getting together socially is not an option, the FWA are determined the tradition of celebrating somebody who has contributed so much to the fabric of the game should continue.
This year, there can truly only be one recipient – and that’s Marcus Rashford. His unstinting efforts and campaigning have shone a necessary light on child poverty and hunger, helped tackle a societal problem and shamed the Government into numerous U-turns on policy.
Legendary Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson led the tributes to Rashford who was moved by the iconic managers words.
Sir Alex told the FWA: ‘I have known him since being a kid of 7 years of age, and seen him develop through the ranks of Manchester United into a truly wonderful person.
‘Apart from his football life, what he has achieved in the last few months is quite astonishing, how he has helped the people in need is a truly amazing achievement.
‘I would like to congratulate him on that. He has shown to young people in particular there is a different way of dealing with life.
‘He has shown great humility, he has shown courage to do what he did, so this achievement is well deserved and should be recognised with what he has done.
‘So Marcus, well done on a fantastic achievement.
After receiving the award Marcus told Carrie: ‘For me it was an unbelievable experience and I think for me that is probably the only regret I have ever had in my career, never having the chance to play under Sir Alex.
‘It is something which is probably never going to happen now but to be on the phone with him and just have 10 or 15 minutes conversation with him was amazing and I am pleased he was aware of the situation and he wanted to help as well, so it was brilliant.
‘He has always, from the beginning really, backed me with what I am doing.
‘Probably when other people in sports were telling me not to do it and just focus on football, he said if I believed in that, and I believe it is the right thing to do, then he is behind it. Those words from him are an amazing feeling to hear that.’
I am a proud member of the FWA and I want to personally say that I have the upmost respect for the role that Paul and Carrie play within the organisation as secretary and chair. I thank them for allowing me to share these words.
I echo their view that Marcus Rashford fully deserves this recognition because during these tough times we need to stick together as a society and help each other when we can. Marcus has certainly done that for so many vulnerable families and it makes me very proud as a lover of football.