'Crawley has been a huge part of my life' - Remembering when Gareth Southgate won the Pride of Crawley award
In 2019, Gareth Southgate won the Pride of Crawley award at the Crawley Community Awards - but last night (Tuesday) he was the pride of the nation.
The former Crawley schoolboy masterminded the Euros victory over Germany - the first time we had beaten them since 1966 - and set up a quarter-final against Ukraine. See his Pride of Crawley acceptance speech below.
And with the country so proud of Southgate, we thought we would look back at when the town in which he grew up honoured him with a top award.
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Southgate picked up the Pride of Crawley Award on March 7, 2019 and although he could not attend, he sent a video message of thanks for the recognition - with his proud parents Clive and Barbara Southgate in the audience.
The 50-year-old former Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa defender grew up in Crawley and went to school at Pound Hill and Hazelwick schools. After a distinguished football career, which included 57 England caps, he became the national boss in November 2016 and led them to the semi-finals of last year's World Cup in Russia.
And the judges of the Crawley Community Awards deemed that enough for him to win the Pride of Crawley award for leading his England side to a best performance at a World Cup since 1990.
In his video message, Southgate said: "Hi to everybody at the Hawth tonight, I hope you are having a brilliant evening.
"Sorry I can’t be with you, we are here at St George’s Park preparing for our next camp. There’s a lot of hard work ahead to make sure our teams are ready for European Championships qualifiers coming up.
"But I just wanted to say thank you for the recognition. It’s very special to have been able to make a difference to the team last summer in particular and we feel we have improved since then.
"Crawley has been a huge part of my life. I had all my school life there, my first experiences in football, playing for the cubs, playing for Crawley Traders, playing for Pound Hill and Hazelwick schools. They were very special moments in my life and very dear to my heart so I really appreciate the recognition.
"I hope everyone else has a brilliant evening. Congratulations to all the other nominees and the winners, sorry I can’t be with you but two very special people in my life are with you, my parents Clive and Barbara, so I hope you both have a brilliant evening. You have given me a wonderful opportunity in life and given me values in life which I think have stood me in good stead throughout my career.
"I hope you enjoy this moment of recognition as well because without you it would not have been possible."