Arsenal’s community man for 30 years given MBE

PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 January 2015 | UPDATED: 14:18 04 January 2015

Alan Sefton Head of the Arsenal Community Dept. Emirates Stadium, 19/10/07. Credit : Arsenal Football Club

Alan Sefton Head of the Arsenal Community Dept. Emirates Stadium, 19/10/07. Credit : Arsenal Football Club

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The man who has spent 30 years at the head of Arsenal’s pioneering community programme has been rewarded with an MBE from the Queen for services to education and to young people in the UK and abroad.

Alan Sefton said the honour was “recognition for all the hard work of so many people” and said he was looking forward changing even more people’s lives through football in the future.

Mr Sefton said: “I am delighted but this is recognition for all the hard work of so many people. We continue to work hard to make a difference and meet the needs of people in the borough and beyond.

“It’s all about realising the power of football, the influence of football and the part it plays in people’s lives is no less now than it was 30 years ago.

“That power enables you to do those other things away from the sport. Arsenal really do get involved in the nitty gritty. It’s about being at the heart and soul of the community.”

There are now 159 different venues operating Arsenal in the Community programmes with more than 5,000 people benefiting each week.

But Mr Sefton said this was just the beginning.

“The work will probably double over the next 30 years. The privilege, and also the responsibility, of working in this sector for Arsenal is that people, from all walks of life, want to be associated with the club and feel that Arsenal can, somehow, enhance what they are doing. That’s what we aim to do.”

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