Receiving MBE from Prince of Wales ‘unbelievable’, says Chris Kamara

Chris Kamara, one of football’s most popular figures, described receiving his MBE from the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle as “unbelievable”.

The 65-year-old, known for his catchphrase “unbelievable Jeff”, was honoured for services to Association Football, to anti-racism and to charity.

Football stars James Milner, the Liverpool veteran, and Sophie Ingle, captain of the Wales women’s football team, also received gongs at the investiture.

Kamara played for nine English professional clubs over two decades before going on to manage Bradford and Stoke, later working as a pundit and presenter on Sky Sports.

He said he was “so pleased” to have met William for the first time, revealing that the royal had written to him after he was named in the New Year’s Honours List.

Reflecting on the day, he told the PA news agency: “Amazing, what a family occasion it has been to take my wife and my sons Ben and Jack to Windsor Castle to see my investiture.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Chris Kamara said he was ‘so pleased’ to have met William for the first time (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“Does it get any better? It’s great.

“I got a letter from the prince to say congratulations and I just thanked him for that letter and he said it’s well-deserved and long overdue, so coming from His Royal Highness, that’s amazing.

“We chatted football, of course, we chatted about that letter and he asked how I was, which was overwhelming that Prince William is asking me how I am.”

On meeting William, he added: “It was unbelievable.”

Investitures at Windsor Castle
James Milner was made an MBE for services to Association Football and to charity (Andrew Matthews/PA)

There was a huge outpouring of support for Kamara on social media when he went public about his apraxia of speech (AOS) diagnosis, saying he felt “a fraud” as a broadcaster having learned he had the condition.

He said the public support he had received was “amazing” and “humbling”.

Former England player Milner, who also played for Aston Villa and Man City, was made an MBE for services to Association Football and to charity.

He told PA it was “a bit nerve-racking” to get the gong from William, but added: “He’s obviously a Villa fan so we talked about Villa and what a good club it was and how much I enjoyed my time there and just about football in general really, yeah.”

Investitures at Windsor Castle
James Milner described receiving the honour as ‘a bit nerve-racking’ (Jonathan Brady/PA)

On whether he wants a contract extension at Liverpool, he said: “Obviously I feel like I can still contribute and want to keep playing but it depends what the club will say on that and we’ll see what happens over the next few months.”

Responding to speculation he could one day become a coach, the 37-year-old added: “Yeah, I mean I’m doing my badges currently so it’s something you’re exploring but you never know what’s going to happen in the future and how you might feel and some days it’s fantastic and you see managers incoming and they get new contracts and then three months later they get sacked because of poor results, so it’s a pretty ruthless business to go into.

“So I do feel it would be a shame to walk away from football with the amount of knowledge I’ve been lucky enough to accumulate. I’ve been very fortunate to work at some amazing football clubs with some amazing players and managers and coaches and I’ve learnt a lot, so it would be a shame to walk away from that and not give that knowledge to the younger generation.”

Ingle was made an OBE for services to Association Football.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Sophie Ingle was made an OBE for services to Association Football (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The Chelsea midfielder has more than 100 international caps to her name, and was part of the Great Britain squad at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

She said the Lionesses winning Euro 2022 had also been a big boost for the women’s game in Wales.

She said: “I think since the Euros in England last year, the amount of people that are now playing football in Wales alone from that summer, the statistics have gone up so high and that’s great because it is visible now and England winning obviously helped. It’s a home nation and I think it boosted us back home in Wales as well.”