Former England and West Bromwich Albion legend Cyrille Regis has spoken of his pride as he received an MBE at Buckingham Palace.
The striker, who was one of the first black players to achieve stardom in the English game, received the honour from the Queen for services to the voluntary sector and football.
Speaking afterwards he said: “It makes you so proud. It does make you think of all the people who helped you along the way, family, mentors, friends. It’s a very proud moment.”
The former England player said that in the early days of his career he did not realise that he and other black players were making history.
“History will say that we broke barriers but at the time you just want to play football. Looking back on it there was a whole sea change.”
He added: “You understand the impact that your status has and how you can change lives and inspire people purely because of your position.
“You can use your position to inspire change and help young people fulfil their potential.”
Mr Regis played alongside fellow black footballers Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson at West Bromwich Albion in the late 1970s.
Regis, 50, was born in French Guiana and moved to England at a young age. He was training to be an electrician when he was spotted by legendaryAlbion scout Ronnie Allen, which led to him signing professionally in 1977.
He went on to play for Coventry City, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester City.