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Liverpool legend and Sunday Post columnist Kenny Dalglish awarded knighthood

Kenny Dalglish (Justin Griffiths-Williams)
Kenny Dalglish (Justin Griffiths-Williams)

KING Kenny is now also Sir Kenny as Liverpool and Scotland football legend Kenny Dalglish receives a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The Sunday Post columnist has been honoured for services to football, to charity and to the city of Liverpool.

The Glasgow-born forward, who made 102 appearances for Scotland, scoring 30 goals, began his playing career with Celtic, scoring 167 goals in 322 appearances.

He moved to Liverpool, making 515 appearances and scoring 172 goals, and became player-manager following the May 1985 Heysel Stadium disaster, when 39 people died.

Dalglish was the Reds boss at the time of the April 1989 Hillsborough Stadium tragedy, during which 96 people died. He has campaigned for the families of the deceased.

Dalglish also managed Blackburn, winning the Premier League title in 1994-95, and Newcastle, with a brief spell at Celtic and a second, shorter spell at Liverpool.

He won 14 championships as a player and manager in Scotland and England and three European Cups as a Liverpool player, plus numerous domestic cup competitions.

Kenny Dalglish woke up with the European Cup after scoring Liverpool’s winner against Club Brugge in 1978 (PA Archive)

Typically for a consummate team man, he described the accolade as a collective one.

“I am hugely proud to have accepted the accolade,” Dalglish said.

“It’s for yourself and for everyone who has been associated with you through the years, from your parents to your professional career.

“We are immensely proud as a whole family to have got it but everyone should feel proud because they have all played a very important role in what we’ve done and where we have got to.”

Also honoured in this year’s list is Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe, who has been made an OBE for his charity work with his eponymous foundation.

Established in 2013, the 35-year-old’s foundation supports homeless, vulnerable and abused children in his family’s home country of St Lucia.

The foundation has expanded to work elsewhere in the Caribbean and in the UK.

Defoe is also well known after befriending terminally ill Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery, who died aged six in July 2017.

He said he feels blessed to receive a royal honour, but described it as a time of mixed emotions following the death of his young friend.

Jermain Defoe with Bradley Lowery (Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire)

Defoe said the six-year-old’s mother would be the first person he called to share the “special” news of the recognition for charitable work.

The England player and Bradley formed a strong bond, with the little boy repeatedly picked to be a mascot for his beloved Sunderland while he battled neuroblastoma.

With the OBE for services to the Jermain Defoe Foundation coming just under a year after Bradley’s death, the sporting star said he felt both pride and sadness.

He said: “It’s obviously mixed emotions because obviously standing here (is) one of the proudest moments of my life, but at the same time remembering all the hurt.

“I’ve got great memories of Bradley in my head but it wasn’t easy seeing someone that you love suffer like that, especially a young kid, where he didn’t really understand what was going on and you have to remain positive.”

Having found out the news of the honour over the phone from his mother while he holidayed in Dubai, Defoe said he was looking forward to telling Bradley’s mother, who lives in Blackhall, County Durham, and the rest of his family.

“I can’t wait to tell Gemma, I think she is the first person I am going to tell to be honest and I know she will be happy, she will be proud,” he said.

Defoe, who said he felt “blessed and humbled” to get the honour, described it as his biggest achievement to date.

“It’s at the top because I feel like this is something completely different,” he said.

“I am proud of it to be honest. It’s important to just give back and try and help others.”

Defoe’s foundation was launched in 2010 after a hurricane in St Lucia, the Caribbean island his grandparents came from.

He said the charity hopes to open a home for abused and vulnerable children there in the next few weeks and added that the foundation has now expanded to help children in Dominica and the UK.

Additional reporting by Aine Fox