SJA congratulates McGeechan and honours winners

The SJA sends heartfelt congratulations to the figures from the media and sport – and friends of the Association – who have received New Year’s honours, including Lions rugby coach Ian McGeechan, who receives a knighthood, and former England football captain-turned-BBC commentator Jimmy Armfield, who is made CBE.

McGeechan, 63, is a past winner of the SJA’s JL Manning Award for his services to sport, and he was among the all-star presenters at the SJA’s British Sports Awards earlier this month.

On the announcement of his knighthood, McGeechan said, “Rugby has been a huge part of my life for over 40 years and to have achieved everything I have with Scotland, in club rugby and with the Lions has been an immensely rewarding and enjoyable experience.”

Armfield, who made a club record 627 appearances for Blackpool and who is now his 30th season as a respected radio summariser, was made a CBE for his community work in Lancashire. He said he was “surprised and grateful” for his recognition.

New Year honours were also given to other figures who have featured at recent SJA Sports Awards. The 2009 SJA Sportsman of the Year, F1 world champion Jenson Button, Formula One world champion Jenson Button, 29, was awarded an MBE while his team leader, Ross Brawn, was made OBE.

England cricketer Claire Taylor, a member of the SJA’s Team of the Year, was made MBE, while an OBE goes to Vic Akers, recently retired as coach to the all-conquering Arsenal women’s football team and a past SJA award-winner.

Jean Pickering, a regular presence at SJA and British Athletics Writers’ Association events, received an MBE for her services to athletics – she was competing at the Olympics and Empire Games half a century ago – and to the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, the charitable trust she has been running for nearly 20 years since the death of her husband, the widely admired former coach and BBC commentator.

Photograph by Steve Rowe/SJA shows Jessica Ennis receiving her 2009 SJA Sportswoman of the Year trophy from Ian McGeechan, the Lions rugby coach who today received a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list

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