Prime Minister Tony Blair has written to Liverpool supporters to explain why former Anfield manager Bob Paisley will not be awarded a posthumous knighthood.
More than 45,000 people signed the Downing Street e-petition
More than 45,000 people signed a Downing Street e-petition which pointed out Mr Paisley had won the European Cup three times but only received an OBE.
However, Mr Blair replied that a knighthood was a honour which can only be given during someone's lifetime.
Mr Paisley died in 1996 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
In his email explanation, Mr Blair wrote: "A knighthood is an honour only given during someone's lifetime. Unlike bravery awards and medals, they have never been granted posthumously.
"In practical terms it would also be impossible to decide which of thousands of figures in our country's history, who were not knighted during their lifetimes, should retrospectively deserve such recognition."
He added that strong cases could also be made for other late managers such as Bill Shankly, Brian Clough, Jock Stein and Bill Nicholson, as well as authors, scientists and explorers, who were not knighted.
Mr Paisley won three European Cups, six league titles and a Uefa Cup during his spell in charge at the club from 1974 to 1983.
Les Lawson, Merseyside secretary of the Official Liverpool Supporters' Club, said: "The facts are that Bob should have been knighted when he was alive.
"He was the greatest manager this country has ever produced and maybe if he had managed a club further down the East Lancashire Road he would have got the knighthood he deserved.
"Liverpool supporters will be happy while the club continues to win trophies on the field but it would be nice to get a bit of recognition from the rest of the country."